Farmer leaders of 16-member Sanyukt Kisan Morcha insist on meeting chief minister Bhagwant Mann over new paddy sowing schedule and relief for wheat growers who suffered losses due to early onset of summer
The deadlock between the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, comprising 16 farm organisations, and the Punjab chief minister’s office (CMO) continued in Chandigarh on Tuesday afternoon as farmer leaders insisted on meeting chief minister Bhagwant Mann instead of officials for the redressal of their demands, including the new paddy sowing schedule and compensation for the wheat crop loss due to rise in temperature in March.
Members of the farmer organisations that are part of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha have been camping at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in adjoining Mohali town since early on Tuesday, awaiting a call from their leaders to march to the chief minister’s residence in Chandigarh if their demands are not met.
A three-tier security ring was deployed on Mohali roads leading to Chandigarh to prevent farmers from marching towards the CM’s residence and causing a law and order problem.
The farmers are seeking ₹500 a quintal as compensation for the loss to wheat crop in the just-concluded rabi season due to the sudden increase in temperature in March when crop was at its maturing stage.
Farmer leaders also objected to the staggered paddy cultivation schedule given by the state government as, according to them, seeds of short duration varieties are not available and there is no proper arrangement for regular power supply.
The state government staggered paddy cultivation from June 18 that, according to leader of Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Gurmeet Singh Mehma, is not in the interest of the farmers.
Apart from this, the farmer leaders are seeking minimum support price for the purchase of maize, basmati and moongi (pulses) that it has assured.
Mehma said that the government had promised to take all decisions by taking farmers into confidence but the one on staggered paddy cultivation was taken unilaterally.
The government has divided the state into four zones for paddy sowing and each zone will start transplant cultivation from June 18, June 20, June 22 and June 24.
Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur) state president Jagjit Singh Dallewal said, “Our main demand is to allow us to carry out paddy transplantation from June 10 instead of June 18. Also, the fee charged for increasing the power load should be decreased by the government. In case the meeting with the chief minister does not yield the desired result, we will launch our march towards Chandigarh. There are a total of 15 demands that will be taken up with the Punjab CM.”
The chief minister had met the farmers in April after which a meeting could not be arranged.
With inputs by Hillary Victor in Mohali