NEW DELHI: The first day of the 10-day ‘Gaon Bandh’ farmers’ agitation saw cultivators in several states, including in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, taking to the streets to express their ire. Owing to the agitation, vegetable and milk supplies were hit in many areas leading to a spike in prices.
The strike has been called by the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh seeking a blanket waiver of farm loans, minimum support price (MSP) for farm produce and rate for milk of Rs 50 per litre, among other things.
In Maharashtra, auction of vegetables did take place at Nashik agriculture produce market committees (APMC), but the produce that reached the market was low in quantity. The strike also hit the country’s largest wholesale onion market, Lasalgaon APMC, as most farmers stayed away from auction. “Only 300 quintals was auctioned at Lasalgaon on Friday as against 15,000 quintals on Thursday,” a Lasalgaon APMC official said.
Farmers in Rajasthan staged protests and stopped trucks supplying milk and vegetables. Farmers in Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur, Sikar, etc. spilled milk on roads and highways. At some places like Chomu in Jaipur, they tried to forcefully shut the market. Speaking to TOI over phone, Santveer Singh, member of Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, said that the bandh was a success in northern Rajasthan.
Rajasthan police said that no untoward incident was reported on Friday.
In Madhya Pradesh, the first day of the strike passed off peacefully, barring stray scuffles. However, vegetable supplies were hit badly with barely 30% of the daily need landing up at mandis in Bhopal, triggering a price spike.
In Punjab’s Jalandhar, farmers led by Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee went to the vegetable market and other places and told the farmers not to bring vegetables, fodder or milk to the city till July 10. They also visited the Verka Milk Plant and told those bringing milk there not to bring it from Saturday.