New Delhi, Dec 18 : Buoyed by the announcement of farm loan waiver by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments, Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) on Tuesday said it will hold another round of protest in the rural parts of the country to press for a complete loan waiver across the country and guaranteed remunerative crop prices.AIKS will also extend its support to the protest march of ex-servicemen fighting for One Rank One Pension (OROP) on January 27.
AIKS General Secretary Hannan Mollah said that ‘rail roko’ and ‘rasta roko’ will be held in all villages to urge BJP-led central government to hike the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for agriculture commodities as per the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission and waive loans of all farmers in the country.
“The outcome of recently-concluded elections showed that farm crisis was one of the major issues. The Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have waived farm loan because of the protests this year,” he said addressing a press conference.
“We have decided to keep momentum going till Lok Sabha elections to get our demands fulfilled. As many as 106 organisations under the banner of Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will participate in the protest,” he said.
The planned protest would be separate from the ones being held by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) which represents over 200 farm outfits and the AIKS is also a part of it, Mollah added.
AIKS President Ashok Dhawale said Congress “showed no mercy to the farmers” by offering a loan waiver but farmers protests compelled it to do so.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has announced signing off the file on crop loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh as on March 30 this year.
Dhawale demanded the cut-off date be extended to December so as to make farmers, who have taken loan this year, free from the cycle of debt completely.
The AIKS leaders asked Congress governments to implement the loan waiver scheme without riders.
“Loan waiver scheme with conditions was a bad experience in BJP-led Maharashtra. In another BJP-ruled state of Uttar Pradesh, farmers received cheques of Re 1. So there should not be any condition,” Dhawale said.
Newly elected MLAs from Rajasthan, Girdhari Lal Mahiya and Balwan Pooniya, who contested on Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) tickets, said they would take up the cause with the government to make farmers in the state debt-free.
Pooniya said farmers were “looted” by the Modi government under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, a crop insurance scheme, as the premium was high but compensation was low.
Expressing concerns over Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that loan waiver was not a solution, Mahiya said “It is hypocrisy. We will have to confront the government in the Assembly and on the road.”
Reacting to the NITI Ayog’s remarks that loan waiver is no answer to the debt trap, Mollah said the premier institution had become a “chamcha” (sycophant) of the BJP government.
“It is good for nothing. It agrees with whatever the government says,” he said.
On former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan remarks over the loan waiver, Mollah said “We know that it is not a solution. However, farmers are under debt because of low remuneration. They have been incurring losses for so many years. Let there be one-time loan waiver along with an announcement of the MSP fixed on Swaminathan commission’s recommendations, farmers will not need a loan waiver again.”
AIKS leader said they would meet Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh over agrarian crisis in the country.