New Delhi, July 17 : Distressed farmers from Tamil Nadu were back in Delhi on Monday three months after they suspended their protest due to the alleged non-fulfilment of promises made by the government.
Around 100 farmers from the agrarian crisis-hit state, who had suspended their 41-day protest following assurances from the government in April this year, turned up at Jantar Mantar to press for their demands.
They want adequate compensation for agricultural produce, crop insurance to individual farmers and linking of rivers to address issue of water crisis.
P. Ayyakannu, President of the National-South Indian Rivers Linking Farmers Association, who is leading the protest, said the farmers had decided to continue their protest for at least 100 days, braving the monsoon.
“Both state and Central governments did not fulfil the promises they made to us. They had assured us that our mortgaged jewellery would not be sold. However, banks have started selling the jewellery. Now, they are going to sell our land as well,” Ayyakannu told IANS.
“We had no option but to restart our protest as the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments have breached out trust. Due to water crisis and drought in the state, farmers are under a huge financial burden. We are almost destroyed. We do not care if we die protesting here.”
Ayyakannu said about 90 per cent of the water sources in Tamil Nadu had dried up leaving little water for irrigation and drinking purposes.
Three months ago, the Tamil Nadu farmers had grabbed eyeballs through their strange ways of protest such as wearing skulls, holding mock funerals, stripping outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and drinking their own urine.
On April 23, they suspended their protest after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami assured them that he would take up their demands including that of loan waiver with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan had told them that their issues would be looked into.
“The state government has waived off the loans of some farmers but we want complete loan waiver. Also, we want the Central government to ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce and interlinking of rivers to solve the water problem,” Ayyakannu said.
The Delhi Police had detained some farmers on Sunday after they attempted to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ayyakannu said the ongoing nation-wide farmers protest, including the Mandsaur-Delhi farmer rally, has boosted their morale to continue their fight.