Punjab farmers plan State-wide protest
Punjab is no more the proverbial Green Belt. Green Revolution was once identified with what the Punjab farmers achieved. It was fairy tale like-story. It was also many years ago. Today the State faces very different types of problems. There is much we hear about the Shiro Akali Dl-BJP government failures. Yes, of course, failure may be too hard a word. There are even otherwise many negative stories.
The drug is now a menace there. Then there is the farmers’ debt burden. So too the political complexion, a new challenge is the anti-incumbency issue when the state is facing a new Assembly elections.
The entrants into the election scenario are also not normal, typical politicians. There is the most impressive heavyweight Captain Amarinder Singh, the ex-maharaja of Patiala. He is the new aggressive face. Singh, the sitting MP from Amritsar and we have to remember he is the one who defeated the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Also, he, almost defied both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in getting himself anointed as the PCC boss and hence there is much hope and expectations from all concerned quarters, from the BJP and the Congress and the new entrant, AAP of Kejriwal who even otherwise won four seats in the Lok Sabha. So, Kejriwal’s antics are not taken lightly and thus, the State is to witness multi-cornered context in the Assembly elections.
Anti-farmer is the election plank.Being branded as anti-farmer in Punjab, a predominantly agrarian state is not to be taken lightly.The anti-farmer platform is joined by many farmers unions. The list itself sounds newsworthy!
What are the demands of the anti-farmer lobbies? All private and government loans should be waived. Also farm labour’s debts to be waived. This is the main demand. From July 26 till July 28, farmers will protest t all district headquarters. This was said by Nirbhay Singh, leader of the Kirti Kisan Union. Prominent famers unions are: Kirti Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Union, (Ugrahana), Bharatiya Kisan Union Dakaudhk), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) and Punjab Kisan Sangrasjh Committee (Azad). Nirbhay Singh also demanded survey of the farmer’s suicides across the state, number of debt-linked suicides.
Consistently lower prices for agri products proportionate to prices of agri inputs and debts had turned Punjab farming into a debt trap.
In this context the Congress under Captain Amrinder Singh had jumped into the fray. Singh had elaborated his strategy.Mass resignations if the Supreme Court decides against the state on the ongoing Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal issues.
This is a very thorny issue for the two states Haryana and Punjab have this Canal issue for years. Very much like any other inter-State rivers disputes, like, say in TN and Karnataka.
Captain Amrinder Singh imagines that by raising this irreconcilable river waters issue the Congress will have an edge in the forth coming elections.
Farm debt in Punjab has very long history from the British times onwards. In Independent India too this debt crisis is haunting the farming sector for very long.
Punjab Relief of Indebtedness Act 1934 and Punjab Debtors’ Protection Act, 1936 and many other relief measures are all odd hats.
Now, the Modi government passed the latest Insolvency Bankruptcy Code 2016 is expected to tackle the issue. It is anybody’s guess whether the various stakeholders, then contending rival political parties whose sole aim is to capture power. And the BJP is in a hurry. So too Kejriwal. They all want to become legitimate heirs to power in the new India!
There is no thought on the part of any of these parties and their hurry in capturing power, it is very clear that the farmers problems are nowhere in sight to get resolved in any positive direction.
There are deeper issues in Punjab’s agri crisis. Things have to take time, it seems.Problems must get much more realistic and some common sense and also certain change in outlook among the people.Then only we can talk of Indian agriculture itself with some sense of responsibility.