Amritsar, July 24
On a call given by the Communist Party of India, the district unit of the party headed by its national council member and former state secretary Bant Singh Brar today demonstrated outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office and said they were willing to be arrested.
They were holding an agitation in favour of farmers, who are forced to commit suicide due to a decreasing farm income and high input costs. The rising debts and a no-way out situation from the vicious circle is leading them to end their lives.
The leaders of the party tried to barge into the Deputy Commissioner’s office, but they were stopped by the heavy police force deputed at the office. They later staged a dharna. The CPI was demanding implementation of the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan report, fixing a corpus fund Rs 1 lakh crore for the stability of prices in the agriculture produce, to keep farm inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, diesel, farm equipments, etc from outside the ambit of GST.
“The government should also ensure the minimum support price on potatoes, pulses and corn besides their procurement from government agencies in order to increase the income of the farming community,” said Bant singh Brar while addressing the gathering. Brar said every day around 35 farmers were committing suicide in the country while the central government was looking the other way. It had failed to initiate steps to improve the condition of the farmers.
The communist leaders also opposed the government move to procure wheat from foreign nations. They pointed out that the government should waive the debts taken by the farmers from the government, the cooperative banks and other government agencies. They also advocated a monthly pension for the farmers above 60 years of age.
They sought medicines for the common people at government hospitals free of cost or at cheaper prices besides reducing the prices of life-saving drugs. The CPI also demanded to keep textiles, small scale industries and small traders out of GST.
Amarjit Singh Asal, district secretary of the CPI, said the agitation was launched to support the farming community after six farmers were shot dead in Madhya Pradesh recently. He said the nationwide protest would continue for three days starting from Amritsar today.