Even as farmer unions in Punjab and Haryana joined a nationwide 10-day strike on Friday against alleged anti-farmer policies of the Centre, the life remained normal in both the states despite section of farmers stopping supply of vegetables, fruits, milk and other items to cities.
On the first day of 10-day-long protest call by ‘Rashtriya Kisan Maha Sangh’ (National Farmers Federation), there were no reports of hassles in Punjab cities like Mohali, Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and far areas of Bathinda, Sangrur, Mansa, Gurdaspur, Amritsar including other parts of the state as well.
Similar reports emerged from neighbouring Haryana where farmers at several places stopped supplies to cities. “Farmers in Haryana were also supporting us and have stopped supplying vegetables, milk and other items,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Haryana president Gurnam Singh Chanduni.
BKU (Rajewal), president Balbir Singh Rajewal said that the protest was going smooth in various districts of Punjab. He said during the morning time farmer unions requested the milk and vegetable vendors to stop their business.
“We have received a satisfactory response from the fellow farmers and vendors selling milk and vegetables. However, we did not forced anyone to join us. It was their (farmers’) choice, and we are agreed with it. In coming days, we are hoping to get more support from farmers in the state”, he said.
Rajewal claimed that not only in Punjab and Haryana, farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and some other states were also not selling their produce in cities. During the 10-day long protest, the farmers will stay in their villages and will not go to cities for supplying their produce,” he said.
The farmer unions from Punjab such as Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta (BKU Ekta Sidhupur), BKU (Kadian), Doaba Sangharsh Committee, Punjab Border Farmers Union and Patiala based International Kisan Union, BKU (Rajewal) have supported the Federation and joined the protest from 1 June to 10 June.
The strike is effective in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, and Chhattisgarh. Meanwhile, Punjab Local Government Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu visited village Patto in Fatehgarh Sahib and purchased milk and vegetables from farmers.
The minister said the report of Swaminathan Commission is not being implemented and the farmers are not getting adequate price for their crops leading to escalation in suicides by the farmers. Advocating the fixing of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of the crops as per the oil prices, Sidhu said that during the past 25 years the oil prices have increased 12 fold whereas the MSP has only increased by five per cent.