The core stir issues of remunerative prices and a basic income for farmers has taken a political turn with three major agrarian states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh going to the polls in the next few months
Onion prices in Indore mandi, one of the largest in Madhya Pradesh, dropped by almost 79 per cent between February and May, while tomato prices slumped by almost 50 per cent during the same period fueling farmers’ anger which has now taken the shape of a 10-day long ‘village bandh’ across major states in North India.
The impact of the strike, however, by farmers has started waning in some parts as it entered a second week but was still intense in some places.
Agency reports said prices of vegetables have risen 25-30 per cent in Jaipur, while procuring and supply of milk was hit in parts of Rajasthan.
In Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, there has been no large-scale impact on supply.
The core stir issues of remunerative prices and a basic income for farmers has taken a political turn with three major agrarian states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh going to the polls in the next few months, followed by the general election through the country next year.
"Farmers have genuine concerns, for which long-term solutions need to be found,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings.
The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM), which called the strike, has claimed to be representing 130 farmer bodies across the country.
As mentioned, the stir shows signs of ebbing. This is the peak time for farmers to focus on sourcing of inputs for the ensuing kharif season.
Sporadic pre-monsoon showers are another good reason for sowing.
"Therefore, some farmers have gradually started coming back,” said Yogesh Pandey, spokesperson for the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, a farmers’ body led by Raju Shetty, a Lok Sabha member.
The body is not supporting this strike, though it says the issues and grievances are genuine.
In Maharashtra, commodity supplies to wholesale markets were normal on Monday. In fact, this was generally true in many other parts, too.
The government in Haryana has imposed a ban on assembly. And, dozens have been arrested in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
However, the RKM says the strike was successful even on Monday.
To show its strength, it has called a meeting of representatives of farmers’ bodies on Tuesday in Delhi, to be paraded before the media.
“The strike is continuing and would go on till June 10 as in the original plan. Our meeting in Delhi would discuss a future course of action,” said Abhimanyu Kohar, national spokesperson of RKM.
Photograph: PTI Photo