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Punjab Govt Agrees To Several Demands Of Protesting Farmers

State government has issued a notification to procure the entire moong (green gram) crop at an MSP of Rs 7,275 per quintal

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As many as 23 farm unions of Punjab, all members of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), had stormed the Mohali-Chandigarh border on Tuesday, May 17 to press their various demands, including a bonus on wheat and advancing the paddy sowing schedule from June 10.

Initially, the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was reluctant to engage in a dialogue with the farmers. In fact, the chief minister had cancelled a meeting with them, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, as he left for Delhi in a haste.

Even after coming back to Chandigarh late at night, he called the farm unions’ protest “unwarranted and undesirable.

The protesting farmers were carrying ration, beds, fans, coolers, utensils, cooking gas cylinders and other items with them. The protest was led by familiar names from last year’s farmers’ movement: Darshan Pal of Krantikari Kisan Union, Jagjit Singh Dallewal of BKU (Sidhupur), BKU-Krantikari chief Surjeet Singh Phul and others, who are also among the key members of SKM.

However, Mann on Wednesday, May 18 agreed to meet the representatives of farmer bodies after they threatened long haul protests at the border, bringing back last year’s memories of the farmers’ movement outside Delhi borders.

Ater the meeting, Mann announced a revised schedule for staggered sowing of paddy on June 14 and June 17, thus restricting the total number of zones to just two instead of four. The government also allowed farmers near the borders to sow paddy from June 10.

Punjab government further said that it will ensure uninterrupted power supply to agriculture feeders so that the sowing season is not affected.

The farmers also wanted a notification issued for the minimum support price (MSP) for maize, moong and basmati.

Mann therefore, told the farmer leaders that the state government has issued a notification to procure the entire moong (green gram) crop at an MSP of Rs 7,275 per quintal. He also told the farmers that the state government is in the process of finalising modalities to procure maize too on MSP.

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