LUCKNOW: The sparks of the farmers’ unrest in Madhya Pradesh were witnessed in adjoining Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh where thousands of farmers, led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), gathered to protest in support of their demands on Friday. Over 100 women farmers also joined the stir.
Leading the protest with the slogans of ‘Muavaza Do Yaa Maut Do’ (give compensation or death) the demonstrating farmers had blocked Khajuraho National Highway in Mauranipur area for four hours. Bundelkhand farmers, who have been suffering from prolonged drought and other related issues for a long time, were demanding constitution of a Kisan Ayog, right to fix price of their crops and interest free loans for farming. They were also demanding the government to get loans of all the banks due on them waived off besides reminding the present dispensation of its poll promise of initiating a pension scheme of Rs 5, 000 per month for farmers above 60 years of age.
Refusing to end the stir even after the persuasion of district police officials, they lifted the blockade only after the intervention of DM Karna Singh Chauhan and his assurance of looking into their demands. “We want a permanent solution to our problems and the DM has assured us of it. So we have ended the protest only for now,” said farmer leader Shiv Narain Parihar adding that the stir would restart if the demands were not met.
“The state government should take steps to address the water woes of this region which has been suffering from prolonged drought,” said Parihar. Before ending the demonstration, the farmers handed over a charter of 10 demands to the DM. The first and foremost demand of the farmers was action against officers involved in 2015-16 tube well scam. The farmers claimed that they were duped by the then government officers who took money (Rs 20,000-50,000) from them on the promise of getting tube wells installed, but later they rejected the receipts of money deposited calling them fake.
They also sought the authorities concerned to set up an Agriculture Security Force to safeguard their crops from wild animals. They also wanted the educated youth from farmers’ community to be recruited in the said force. On the issue of land acquisition for upcoming highways and expressways in the region, the farmers demanded total compensation for land in advance as many farmers were still waiting for earlier dues. Moreover, their charter also included a demand to ban illegal mining in the region and insurance against accidents for the farmers.