It was only a few months back when farmers of Punjab and a few other states came together to protest against the three revolutionary farm laws. AAP government ‘sympathised’ with them only to revive the Khalistan issue for its political agendas. The plan has worked for the Kejriwal-led AAP as it has stormed to power in Punjab.
However, two months after forming the government in Punjab, farmers have begun protesting against the AAP government itself. Quite interesting, right?
The newest farmers’ protest
Farmers, on Tuesday, began a protest near the Chandigarh-Mohali border as they were stopped from proceeding toward the state capital. The farmers reportedly wanted to reach the state capital to ask the Aam Aadmi Party-led government to meet their demands, including a bonus on wheat and start paddy sowing from June 10.
The farmers were heading with rations, beds, fans, coolers, utensils, LPG cylinders, and other items saying that “they would not leave the spot till their demands were met.”
Chief minister Bhagwant Mann, however, termed the agitation as “unwarranted and undesirable” and advised the farmers to end their sloganeering. He also urged the farmers to join hands with the state government to check Punjab’s depleting water table.
After the farmers threatened to stage an indefinite protest across the state, a heavy contingent of police was deployed along the Chandigarh-Mohali border. The barricades were put up and water cannons were rolled out to prevent the protesters from heading towards the Union territory.
“Our main demand is to allow us to carry out paddy transplantation from June 10 instead of June 18,” Jagjit Singh Dallewal, farmer leader and state president of Bharti Kisan Union, said.
Notably, the state government has divided the state into four zones for paddy sowing from June 18, 20, 22 and 24, respectively.
“The chief minister had met farm bodies on April 17…. But the issues flagged by us remain unaddressed,” Kranti Kisan Union general secretary Gurmeet Singh Mehma said.
Mann said, “My doors are open for talks with the farmers but hollow slogans cannot break this firm resolve to check the further depletion of water table.”
Bhagwant Mann issued arrest warrant against farmers
Well, it is not the first time that the state government has stepped in with a decision that is against the interest of the farmers. Barely a month after coming to power, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had shown its true colours to the farmers. Reportedly, the AAP government had issued arrest warrants against 2000 farmers who had defaulted on their loan payments. The issuance of arrest warrants came at a time when farmers across the state were suffering from low yields of wheat as the scorching heat had destroyed a significant portion of the crop.
According to data available, there are approximately 60,000 farmers currently in debt in the state of Punjab. The majority has failed to pay a single penny to the cooperative and Punjab agriculture development banks in the last three years.
Data released by the state finance department shows that farmers owe nearly Rs 3,200 crore to various cooperative banks, out of which around Rs 1,900 crore was the principal amount borrowed.
The so-called ‘Kisanna di Sarkar’, for the oath ceremony of the new AAP CM last month, over 150 acres of farmers’ land and parts of the boundary walls of the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Martyrs’ Memorial and Museum were cleared in Khatkar Kalan.
From 13 acres earlier, the area of the pandal and parking space was stretched to 40 to 50 acres. Lastly, 150 acres of standing wheat crop was destroyed to prepare for the mega event.
A compensation of Rs 45,000 per acre amounting to Rs 67,50,000 had been promised to at least 20 farmers whose land had been cleared for parking but so far, no development has been registered on the said promise.
Power is corrosive. It reveals the hidden face of any individual. This time, it has rightfully exposed the real face of AAP. The party was never concerned about farmers, to begin with.