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Farmers stage tractor march in Fatehabad against curbs on paddy sowing

Soil and climate not conducive for alternative crops such as maize, they say

Several farmers on Monday staged a “tractor march” in Haryana’s Fatehabad against the BJP-JJP government’s decision of restricting paddy (rice) cultivation to a few areas and sought its immediate withdrawal.

“The farmers have started a ‘Kisan Bachao-Kheti bachao’ campaign under which over 2,000 farmers from around 50 villages of the Ratia block took out a march on their tractors towards the Deputy Commissioner office in Fathehabad,” said Jasbeer Singh Bhatti, State president of the Rashtriya Kisan Sanghtan, who supported the protest.

“Let the farmer decide what is to be sown. They [government] are asking farmers to sow alternative crop such as maize, but the soil and climate are not conducive in most parts of the block. Besides, the compensation offered is absolutely inadeqaute. We want the government to immediately withdraw its anti-farmer decision,” said Mr. Bhatti.

The government had recently launched “Mera Pani Meri Virasat” scheme, aimed at crop-diversification to move away from the water-guzzling paddy. The farmers sowing crops other than paddy during the ensuing kharif season will get an incentive of ₹7,000 per acre. Eight paddy-rich blocks including Ratia, Siwan, Guhla, Pipli, Shahabad, Babain, Ismailabad and Sirsa, where the depth of groundwater level exceeds 40 metres, are included in this scheme. Last year, the paddy area there was 2,06,000 hectares. However, this year the government is aiming at replacing 50% of the area with alternative crops, including maize, cotton, millet and pulses.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala led a farmers’ ‘dharna’, adhering to distancing norms, at Guhla-Cheeka in Kaithal district against the curbs.

A memorandum was submitted to the local authorities. “The Congress party would not let the State government crush the due rights of farmers. The BJP government is working to destroy the farmers by denying them paddy and eventually stopping its procurement at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).”

“The order is not acceptable to the farmers and the Congress party would extend all possible support to them,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 9:51:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farmers-stage-tractor-march-in-fatehabad-against-curbs-on-paddy-sowing/article31672452.ece

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