BHUBANESWAR:On a day when the “Kisan Long March” reached Azad Maidan in Mumbai, hundreds of farmers from across the State laid siege to the Capital demanding social security and minimum support price.Gathered under the banner of Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS), which has been holding movements seeking price, prestige and pension since 2010, the farmers upped the ante against the State Government seeking an allocation of `21,6000 crore in next budget as well as wide-spread reforms.
Accusing the Government of ignoring the farm sector, the Sangathan demanded that every farmer above the age of 20 must be given a social security allowance of `5,000 a month which should be made available to 36 lakh farmers.There is patronage for Government employees and corporates at the expense of farmers which is pushing them to suicides, it said adding, the apathy is not just by the State because the Centre is equally indifferent to interest of the sector. Post Independence, over three lakh farmers have committed suicide in the country, they added.
“There is enough resources at disposal to pay huge salary to Government employees but the farmers’ causes are glossed over. Our movement has proved that farmers can be organised though much of the farming community was for long dismissed as unorganised,” State coordinator Seshadeba Nanda said.
Sangathan’s national convenor Akshay Kumar said the social security allowance, remunerative prices for crops, implementation of recommendations made by the MS Swaminathan Committee report and loan waivers are a must to revive the sector and protect the interest of the farmers.
“The children of farmers are leaving the State in search of livelihood as they see no security and future in farming. The State Government should encourage them to continue with farming,” Kumar said.
The association also informed that it will take part in social activist Anna Hazare’s agitation for agriculture reforms in New Delhi from March 23.
Seeking an enhanced support price for paddy, NKS said the demand of `5,000 per quintal is ‘minimum justified price’. The demand is based on maximum retail price (MRP) versus minimum support price (MSP). “We purchase pesticides, tools, among others, at MRP but sell crops at MSP. The farmers are getting `1,550 per quintal of crop and our demand is they deserve `5,000,” Kumar said.During Hazare’s agitation, he said, demand will be made from the Centre for giving `5,500 per quintal of the crop.
Hundreds of farmers from seven districts, Jajpur, Puri, Nayagarh, Khurda, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Cuttack participated in the protest.