Farmers declared demonstrations for the Muzara Lehar Shahadat Diwas on March 19, 2021 will highlight the plight and denial of rights of tenant farmers and their resistance to the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) changed procurement norms and specifications.
Earlier, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) had warned the Government of India against the irrational move of introducing tighter procurement specifications for food grains. Leaders said that such a move by the FCI defies decades of procurement work.
Notably, the FCI is seeking land record details to set up DBT of procured grain prices, knowing fully well that in many cases actual cultivators are different from the land owners, said the SKM.
“The SKM considers these moves by FCI as an attack on the ongoing movement, and on Punjab which is in the forefront of the struggle. Punjab and Haryana farmers will resist these moves by the FCI very strongly and will chalk out a strategy for the same,” it said.
Among new provisions, FCI is proposing that moisture content in wheat crops be brought down to 12 percent from 14 percent. Similarly, foreign matter will be reduced to 0.50 percent from 0.75 percent, slightly damaged grains will decrease to 2 percent from 4 percent and prevalence of shrivelled and broken grains will reduce to 4 percent from 6 percent.
Proposals for uniform specifications of under central pool foodgrain procurement disallow any prevalence of other foodgrain in wheat whereas up to 2 percent was allowed till date. Further, no infested grains will be purchased any more.
Meanwhile, 32 farmers organisations of Punjab decided on March 18 that farmers will not submit their land record-related papers and asked farmers across India to follow suit. In this regard, leaders said a memorandum will be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi via a mandi secretary from every mandi.
On Thursday, the Mitthi Satyagrah Yatra reached Varanasi to collect soil from different parts of India and use it for building a memorial at the Singhu border. As of March 16, around 302 farmers have died while participating in the struggle against the three farm laws: the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
Nonetheless, agitations continue in many parts of the country. The Kisan Mazdoor Jagriti Yatra that started in Uttarakhand has continued till Aliganj region in Etah district of Uttar Pradesh. Participants received a warm response from the local public throughout its route.
Regarding grassroot-level mobilisation, a Kisan Mazdoor mahapanchayat was organised in Patna city of Bihar and Nayavas region in Etah on Thursday. The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) Andhra Pradesh chapter and others called for a state level convention in Vizianagaram district to ensure the March 26th Bharat Bandh and other SKM programmes. In Madhya Pradesh, SKM constituents gave a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister demanding MSP procurement for all farmers.
Additionally, as part of the MSP Dilao Abhiyan, the Jai Kisan Andolan introduced an “MSP Loot Calculator” that shows farmers receiving significantly lower prices than the MSP promised in different markets for Channa in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The calculator showed approximately 140 crore rupees loss for farmers in just the first fortnight of March.
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