Tamil Nadu

Yatra to sensitise farmers to their constitutional rights

Patient hearing: Yogendra Yadav, founder, Swaraj Abhiyan, meeting a labourer in Idumbavanam.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Highlighting various demands and rights of farmers, including drought relief, members of the Jai Kisan Andolan, a movement for farmers rights launched by Swaraj Abhiyan, Ektha Parishad, the National Alliance of People’s Movement, ASHA and other farmers organisations launched a yatra of seven drought-hit districts in Tamil Nadu on Thursday.

The ‘Farmers Rights Yatra’ commenced from Vedaranyam on Thursday and will cover Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Karur, Ariyalur, Perambalur before concluding at Tiruchi on May 7. It was flagged off in Chennai on Wednesday.

The march is intended to make farmers aware of their constitutional rights in drought situations. At meeting held at villages, Swaraj Abhiyan leaders briefed farmers on the provisions of various laws and measures meant for protecting them such as the National Food Security Act, the MNREGA, crop input subsidy and loan rescheduling.

The yatra is also to assert farmers’ right to avail relief under the National Food Security Act so that no one is deprived of food in times of calamity.

Addressing farmers en route, Yogendra Yadav, founder, Swaraj Abhiyan, said they wanted to extend solidarity to the drought-hit farmers of Tamil Nadu and to drive home the message that farmers from various other States stood by them.

“We have successfully waged similar battles for relief for the farmers who had been affected in similar grounds. Similarly, we want to ensure relief to the drought-hit farmers of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Mr. Yadav, who gave a hearing to farmers, agricultural labourers, farm women in a cluster of villages, including Vedaranyam, Idumbavanam, Muthupettai and surrounding villages in Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts on the first-leg of the tour, said that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which is most needed during the drought-hit period, had not been properly implemented across Tamil Nadu.

He wanted extension of the mid-day meals scheme during the summer vacation to school students.

Mr. Yadav expressed his concern that the Prime Minister’s Insurance Scheme was not being implemented effectively. He took exception to the loan recovery measures being initiated by banks. Norms can be relaxed during critical periods such as famine or floods or drought, but bank officials were issuing notices to farmers. He assured the villagers that he would fight legally to protect the interests and rights of farmers.

On-the-spot survey

Youth4Swaraj volunteers conducted an on-the-spot survey in various villages to assess the problems of the villagers. They also distributed pamphlets and information brochures.

Avik Saha, national convener, and K. Vijayarao, advisor of Andolan, were among those who participated. Farmers from various parts of the country are participating in the yatra.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 7:09:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/yatra-to-sensitise-farmers-to-their-constitutional-rights/article18386094.ece

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