As the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s farm laws at the State borders of Delhi is about to complete a year, a recent socio-economic study by researchers associated with the Punjabi University at Patiala says most of those who lost their lives during the movement are “small and marginal farmers” and “landless cultivators”.
The study titled “Separating Wheat from the Chaff: Farm Laws, Farmers’ Protest and Outcomes” points out that those who have died cultivated on an average 2.94 acres and if landless farmers who cultivate the contracted land are included, the average size goes down to 2.26 acres.
Lakhwinder Singh, Professor Emeritus, department of economics at Khalsa college, Punjabi University, and Baldev Shergill, Assistant Professor, department of social sciences, Punjabi University Guru Kashi campus at Talwandi Sabo, have recently presented their findings on the basis of data collected about 460 farmers. The estimated number of farmers and agricultural workers, who died between November 26, 2020 and October 26, 2021, was 600, according to the study.
“It is important to note that the farmers who died largely belong to Punjab as many from the State are participating in the protest. The participation is higher and intense in the Malwa region. We collected data of 460 farmers, belonging to Punjab, who had died in the protest,” said Mr. Singh, who has been mapping rural Punjab for decades.
“The region-wise distribution shows that the Malwa region has relatively higher average size of cultivated area followed by Doaba and Majha. Hence, the participation in the protest and number of persons who died were also very high from the region — nearly 80%. The Doaba and Majah regions accounted for 12.83% and 7.39% respectively,” he said.