MSP demand: Farmers end agitation after talks with Kurukshetra administration in Haryana

The protesting farmers have been assured of the appropriate price for sunflower crop, Kurukshetra's Deputy Commissioner Shantanu Sharma said.
Farmers at the protest site. (Photo | PTI)
Farmers at the protest site. (Photo | PTI)

KURUKSHETRA: Farmers protesting over the MSP for sunflower seeds at Pipli in Haryana's Kurukshetra called off their agitation on Tuesday night after an assurance from the state government of an "appropriate price" for the crop.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said after fresh talks with the district administration in the evening, the farmers have ended the protest and the national highway blockade in Pipli has been lifted.

Kurukshetra Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shantanu Sharma told PTI that farmers have been assured of "appropriate price" for sunflower crops.

Sharma said the Haryana government always stands by farmers. "Either by increasing (crop) rate or 'bhavantar' rate, it is the Haryana government's decision to ensure the right price of the crop and we will do this," he said.

The DC also said Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had promised to set up a unit for processing 20,000 metric tonnes of sunflowers in Shahabad and it will soon be fulfilled.

Talking to reporters here, Tikait said that the local committee of farmers which was holding talks with the government reached an agreement in the evening as per which the government has agreed on their MSP demand and also agreed to release the farmers arrested recently during the Shahabad protest by following the process of law.

"Our agitation here was that procurement should be at the MSP. We had sought the rate which was fixed by the Centre," he said.

"In every state, the MSP rate will have to be given. A bigger agitation will be needed in the country on the legal guarantee of MSP. A beginning has been made here," Tikait said.

The protest here has ended and the road has been cleared, he said.

The protesting farmers had blocked the National Highway-44 near Pipli, which connects Delhi with Chandigarh, and some other routes since Monday afternoon after holding a mahapanchayat on the issue.

The district administration had since Monday held several rounds of talks with the protesting farmers, but the breakthrough came only in the evening after the state government gave an assurance on the demand.

Soon after the agreement was reached, the farmers celebrated their victory and also burst crackers.

On Monday, the farmers had held 'MSP Dilao, Kisan Bachao Mahapanchayat', called by the BKU (Charuni), at a grain market in Pipli close to NH-44. Subsequently, the farmers blocked the highway in support of their demand.

The blockade of the highway had caused inconvenience to commuters as they were stuck in traffic jams and forced to cover longer distances to reach their destinations due to traffic diversions.

Many truck drivers said that the consignments being carried by them for their delivery at various points have got delayed due to the blockade.

Tikait had earlier asked the state government to accept the demand or send farmers to jail.

The farmers had been demanding that the state government procure sunflower seeds at an MSP of Rs 6,400 per quintal.

Under the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana -- price difference payment scheme -- the state government was giving Rs 1,000 per quintal as interim support for sunflower crop sold below MSP.

On June 6, farmers led by BKU (Charuni) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni blocked the highway near Shahabad here demanding that the government procure sunflower seeds at MSP. Police used water cannons and batons to disperse the protesters.

Later, nine BKU (Charuni) leaders, including its president, were arrested over various charges, including rioting and unlawful assembly.

On Tuesday, when asked if farmers have been assured of Rs 6,400 MSP for sunflowers, Tikait said "The farmers will get the rate fixed by the Centre".

He said that it is not the question of "forcing the government to bow before their demand, but we had been seeking what is our right".

When asked if the Haryana government will increase the 'Bhavantar' or give Rs 6,400 per quintal for sunflowers, Tikait said "In whichever way they give, the farmers will get the MSP".

Chief Minister Khattar on Saturday released Rs 29.13 crore as interim compensation to 8,528 farmers for sunflowers grown on 36,414 acres. 

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