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|September 12, 1998||
Farmers to protest against WTO and free trade in agriculture
Workers of the Bharatiya Kisan Union of Mahinder Singh Tikait and several other farmers, farm labour and left organisations from all over the country will march to Rashtrapati Bhawan on September 17 to protest against free trade in agriculture and India joining the World Trade Organisation.
Announcing this at a press conference in New Delhi, G N Sai Baba, spokesman of the joint action forum of the Indian People Against WTO, an umbrella body of participating organisations, charged that several successive governments at the Centre had played ''second fiddle to imperialism and joined its sponsored WTO, a global trade regime. This would virtually put vulnerable Indian farm sector at the mercy of multinational companies dealing in crop seeds, pesticides and agricultural research.
Gradually, the multi-national companies would do away with Indian bio-diversity, cloning flora and fauna and patenting most of Indian varieties thus robbing the farmers of their age-old farm techniques and livelihood, BKUS Punjab unit general secretary Gurmit Singh said.
The farmers leaders who included Tikait said the traded liberalisation had threatened survival of farmers who were now resorting to suicide. They demanded a ban on import of agricultural products, rise in procurement prices and a ban on the entry of MNCs dealing in farm products and research.
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