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Haryana: Hundreds of Farmers Gherao Agriculture Minister's House to Demand Timely and Adequate Compensation

Farmers are yet to receive the compensation that was promised to them in 2020: All India Kisan Sabha.

Hundreds of farmers undertook a protest and surrounded the Agriculture minister's residence in Bhiwani, Haryana. The protest was organised by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) with a firm demand to provide the farmers with sufficient relief amount and the long-due compensation for the crops that have been destroyed due to the recent floods in the two states, Haryana and Punjab.

According to the union, the farmers have yet to receive the relief fund declared by the state and the insurance compensation, which was due in 2020.

The recent floods in the northern part of the country have severely affected agriculture and livelihood in Punjab and Haryana. In a press conference, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann admitted that Punjab had suffered a loss of Rs 1000 crore due to the floods this year. On the other hand, in Haryana alone, the floods have caused devastation, which has impacted approximately seven districts and caused a Rs 500 crore loss as per initial statistics put out by the Haryana government.

The protest in Bhiwani today saw the presence of around 2,000 farmers gathered here from the nearby districts of Bhiwani. The farmers raised slogans against the state government's delayed and insufficient response to the agricultural issues the farmer's unions have raised for a long time.

According to Sumit, general secretary of AIKS, the entire state of Haryana is grappling with an agricultural crisis. The remaining districts that have not been affected by floods are hugely impacted by the drought. The Haryana government recently declared a compensation of Rs 15000/acre for the destroyed crop; however, according to Sumit, this amount is insufficient as it doesn't cover more than five acres.

"In Haryana, the government has declared the compensation of Rs 15000/ acre, and it can go only up to five acres. However, if the farmers have more than five acres, they are not entitled to receive any compensation. Today's protest demand was to demand full compensation of whatever has been spent by the farmers on the specific crop."

Though the protesting farmers have gheraoed the minister's house today, the agriculture minister, Jai Prakash Dalal, was unavailable to meet the farmers. He was in Chandigarh to attend an official meeting.

Speaking with NewsClick, AIKS state president Balbir Singh demanded that the government declare the entire affected region as 'disaster stricken' and expeditiously aid affected farmers. Singh further claimed that the insurance claims amounting to approximately Rs 1100 crore and government dues of Rs 3000 crore are present in the government records, emphasising that timely compensation should be there.

The floods, which took place in these states in July, have not only affected agriculture but also led to widespread housing destruction and health concerns among the farmers. 

In the backdrop of this flood-induced circumstance and persisting agrarian crisis, a consortium of 16 farmers' organisations, including Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), BKU Ektraa-Azaad, and Bhartiya Kisaan Mazdoor Union, issued a resonating call for an extensive protest scheduled in Chandigarh on August 22. The demand of this consortium was to release the funds for all flood victims from all the states. However, since the call was given, many farmers' leaders were arrested from Punjab and Haryana to prevent the protest.

As reported by The Hindu, a farmer from Punjab's Sangrur district lost his life in an accident while the confrontation between the farmers' groups and police left five police officers injured. 

Farmers' unions have been demanding that the Central government announce a special package of Rs 50,000 crore for the damage caused by floods in north India, apart from compensation of 50,000 per acre for the loss of all crops.

Though today's protest did not yield any result, as there was no talk between AIKS and the government, the union has further planned to go on an indefinite strike from September 2 if their demands are not met by then.

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