Farmer leaders reject government’s proposal amid protest

Farmer leaders yesterday told the government they would continue their march to Delhi on Wednesday (February 21), after they rejected the government’s proposal of procuring pulses, maize, and cotton at MSP by government agencies for five years. Protesting farmers have been staying put at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab’s border with Haryana to press the Centre for various demands.


Besides a legal guarantee on MSP, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and “justice” for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.


Farmer leaders taking part in the ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation on Monday rejected the government’s proposal of procuring pulses, maize, and cotton at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) by government agencies for five years, saying it was not in farmers’ interest.

In the fourth round of talks with farmer leaders, a panel of three Union ministers on Sunday proposed the buying of pulses, maize, and cotton crops by government agencies at minimum support prices for five years after entering into an agreement with farmers.
Rejecting the government’s proposal, the farmers announced that they would march towards Delhi on Wednesday. “We appeal to the government that either resolve our issues or remove barricades and allow us to proceed to Delhi to protest peacefully,” Kisan Mazdoor Morcha leader Sarwan Singh Pandher told reporters at the Shambhu point of Punjab’s border with Haryana.

On Friday, Haryana Police fired tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers when they moved towards the barricades at the Shambhu border near Ambala. There were clashes between the farmers and police personnel on the first two days of the protest as well. SKM Haryana demanded the release of detained farmers and restoration of mobile internet services in seven districts of the state in the wake of farmers’ ‘Delhi Chalo’ call.

On farmers’ protest, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Monday urged the Punjab government to take decisions in the interest of the farmers.

The protesting farmers’ groups in Noida and Greater Noida on Monday said they will march to Delhi on February 23 to press for a resolution of their issues, including developed plots and increased compensation for their land acquired in the past. Thousands of these villagers, including women, had made an unsuccessful attempt to go to Delhi on February 8 amid stepped-up security along Noida’s borders with the national capital, choking traffic movement in the city.

The protestors on that day called off the march and were pacified after the police’s assurance of a high-level meeting with representatives of local authorities and the Uttar Pradesh government.