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Thousands of farmers take out rally to Delhi with 16 demands

SNS | New Delhi |

The Rashtriya Kisan Yatra, a farmers’ march under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Sangathan (BKS) was stopped near the Delhi border, this morning. Thousands of farmers were stopped by police near the Delhi-Ghazipur border on National Highway 24.

The march started from Saharanpur on September 17 with 16 demands including, increasing the minimum support prices of crops, reduction in diesel and electricity charges and release of pending sugarcane dues of the farmers, and full loan waver, among others.

The non political organization BKS, started their march from Noida’s Transport Nagar this morning to Delhi’s Kisan Ghat via Akshardham and ITO, after the talks between the farmers and the Agriculture Ministry failed to materialise.

National president of BKS Puran Singh said, “After our negotiations with Agriculture Ministry officials failed, we are left with only this option of marching to Delhi to draw attention towards our demands.”

Pooran Singh further said, “BKS is dedicated to raising real issues.” He asked the Uttar Pradesh government to fulfill its promise of paying the dues of sugarcane farmers as soon as they come in power and also criticized the Opposition parties for not raising the farmers’ issue enough.

One of the participant said, “No politician is paying heed to us. Our protest will continue till our demands are fulfilled by the government.”

The Rashtriya Kisan Yatra march has led to massive traffic jams near the national capital, including the Meerut-Delhi highway as well as Ghazipur flyover near Delhi-UP border. The traffic movement near Sector 62 was also moving at snail’s pace.

Noida police teams have been deployed on the way to ensure peaceful passage.

Heavy police and para- military forces have been deployed in-route to Delhi. “We have arranged everything for the security as you can see. Once they reach here, we will talk to them and then reach to a conclusion,” a senior police official was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

If the demands of the farmers are not met, they have planned to go on a hunger strike.

Last year too, a similar Kisan yatra turned violent as the police used water cannons and tear gas to stop the farmers from entering Delhi. The Kisan Kranti Yatra, which began from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar on September 23, was joined by farmers from various parts of Uttar Pradesh. They came on foot, in buses and tractor trolleys. They carried banners of Bhartiya Kisan Union, which gave the call for the march to press for a series of demands.

This year’s Rashtriya Kisan Yatra demands complete waive off of debts of all farmers, free electricity for irrigation, free education and health facilities, a pension of Rs 5,000 a month after the age of 60, farmers’ representative must be present when the price of crops is decided, martyr status for farmers if one dies while farming, accident insurance scheme for farmers, establishment of High Court and AIIMS in western Uttar Pradesh, allowance of Rs 300 per day for stray cattle rearers, rivers should be made pollution free and Swaminathan Commission report must be implemented.