The farmers’ movement in Rajasthan has won a significant victory with the successful conclusion of the 13-day long struggle led by the All India Kisan Sabha.
Lakhs of farmers had been gheraoing the Collectorates in different districts of Rajasthan since 1 September for loan waiver, remunerative crop prices, withdrawal of cattle trade ban and other demands.
The last three days saw shutdowns and blockades across the State, bringing nearly 20 districts to a standstill, with only ambulances and essential services being allowed to function.
As reported earlier by Newsclick, the struggle had received enthusiastic support from all sections of society, from women and traders to unions and even DJs.
The government resorted to ban the internet in Sikar district on the 11th day of the struggle in an attempt to break its back, but the farmers persisted with the agitation.
Following talks with the Kisan Sabha leadership, the BJP government of Rajasthan accepted several demands of the peasantry. The negotiations took place in four phases from 1 pm on 12 September and ended on 14 September at 1 o’clock at night.
The Vasundhara Raje-led government has agreed to a loan waiver of up to Rs. 50,000 which is expected to benefit 8 lakh farmers, said a Kisan Sabha statement.
The government has given an assurance that it will write to the central government seeking implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations regarding Minimum Support Prices (that crop prices 50 per cent over and above the cost of production would be ensured) in a time-bound manner by working out all modalities.
Purchase of groundnut, green gram (moong) and urad at MSP at all district headquarters within 7 days and withdrawal of the hike in electricity rates for drip irrigation are among other demands accepted by the government.
It has been agreed that the fellowships for SC/ST/OBC students would be paid immediately with all arrears.
Significantly, the government has promised to relax the restrictions imposed on sale of cattle, and to ensure protection of crops from stray cattle and wild animals. The harassment of farmers, and that of traders buying and selling animals from farmers, by the police would be stopped.
The government has agreed in principle to provide a pension of Rs. 2000 to all farmers. Insurance claims for failure of canal irrigation would be paid.
The mahapadav (sit-in) at the Collectorates that had gone on for 13 days and the blockade of roads were lifted after the government and the Kisan Sabha arrived at an agreement on the demands raised by the agitating farmers.
“This inspiring victory shall inspire similar struggles across the country”, said the Kisan Sabha statement.
Celebrations by farmers broke out across the State late on Wednesday night as Amra Ram, President of the All India Kisan Sabha, conveyed the outcome of the negotiations held in Jaipur to the agitating farmers. Farmers celebrated the victory with slogans, songs and dance.
Amra Ram and Pema Ram, the leaders of the struggle, were expected to address the gathered crowd of farmers at Sikar – the nerve-centre of the agitation – at 10.30 in the morning.
But their arrival from Jaipur was delayed as they were accorded rapturous receptions by celebrating farmers throughout the route to Sikar.