On Wednesday, February 27, farmers started an indefinite protest in front of the collectorate office in Sikar district of Rajasthan, demanding that the government buy their onions like it had done in the years 2011 and 2015. The farmers from Sikar and its surrounding areas reached the collectorate carrying bags of onions with them, and started the indefinite demonstration in front of the office.
The farmers have been protesting for their rights since a long while, and they had organised several demonstrations at block levels before this.
The farmers said that the cost of cultivating onions on one acre of land is around Rs 8,000, and the government should buy the produce at the minimum support price of Rs 10 per kilo, and sell it at the ration shops all over the country. The farmers are being forced to sell onions at Rs 2-3 per kilo as a result of the lack of support from the government, and they are not even getting back the amount they amount they invested.
In Rajasthan, Sikar, Churu, and Jhunjhunu districts are big producers of onion. Therefore, the government had announced 15 years ago that an onion market will be built in the area. The market building was completed last year, however, it is not being used yet. The farmers are demanding that the government immediately start the functioning of the market.
The protest has been organised under the banner of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). MLA Hanuman Beniwal joined the protest in solidarity with the farmers. Vice-President of AIKS, Amra Ram, and Ex-MLA Pema Ram have also joined the thousands of farmers who are protesting at the collectorate. More farmers from various districts of Rajasthan will keep joining the protest demonstration in coming days.
The farmers have also said that they are not being fairly compensated for the milk produce. They said that during the previous year, they received Rs 25-28 per litre of milk. This year, they are being forced to sell it for Rs 20 per litre, while the same milk is being sold to consumers for twice that amount. The farmers have demanded that they should get 70 per cent of the final selling price.
Talking to Newsclick, Amra Ram said, “Both the centre and the state government have betrayed the farmers. The government is not even buying the crops for the minimum selling price that had been announced. The Modi government had announced the minimum support price of Rs 1,900 for one quintal of Bajra on July 7, 2018, but the farmers did not receive this amount. Both the governments are playing with the lives of the farmers.”
The farmers have submitted their charter of demands to the collector, and have decided to continue their protest until all their demands are met.
Also read: PM-KISAN: Why Farmers Are Unhappy With Rs 2,000