Farmers Call Mahapanchayat in Mahoba, Won’t Tolerate Government Apathy

DSCN4006Mahoba district. 18 September saw farmers from Bundelkhand turn up at the Kirat Sagar in Mahoba town in large numbers to attend a mahapanchayat. Angered and frustrated with government inaction after Bundelkhand faced both untimely rain and drought in the same year, the grand village assembly attended by thousands of farmers from Mahoba and some nearby districts, was called to discuss various problems farmers have been facing for a long time. At the end of the meeting, the farmers submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Sub Divisional Magistrate (S.D.M.) of Mahoba so that it can be forwarded to state capital Lucknow.

Pooranlal Ahirwar, a Dalit farmer from the Nanwara village of Jaitpur block in Mahoba, is also the Block President of the Bundelkhand Kisan Union. Present at the mahapanchayat, Pooranlal said, ‘Farmers in Bundelkhand have been helpless and desperate for decades now. The government makes lavish promises to farmers at the time of elections. Later o, all these promises are forgotten.’ National President of the Kisan Union, Vimal Kumar Sharma, said that the S.D.M. of Mahoba Shri Nanhaku accepted the memorandum of demands and assured the gathering that he would forward this to the Chief Minister’s office in Lucknow at the earliest.

Divisional in charge of the Kisan Union, Gajbadan Shukla said, ‘The farmers of Bundelkhand have come together and formulated a 13-point charter of demands. We have also decided to build pressure on the government by planning an agitation outside the Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow on 10 October. We will not tolerate the government’s apathy towards Bundelkhand, anymore.’

The 13-point charter lists many hurdles farmers in this region have been facing:

–          Declare drought in Bundelkhand at the earliest

–          Stop harassment of farmers by banks that force farmers to pay a ‘recovery charge’ (R.C.) and to sell their land to repay loans

–          Pardon all loans of all farmers in the Bundelkhand region

–          Pay compensation to farmers who suffered losses due to hail and untimely rainfall, earlier this year, at a rate of Rs. 10,000 per bigha

–          Provide proper shelters for stray animals that graze and ruin crops

–          Provide good quality fertilizers and seeds at subsidized rates for farmers

–          Provide for free electricity and water for agricultural activities to farmers

–          Constitute a Bundelkhand Farmers’ Commission to study and research new techniques and technologies to help farmers in the area

–          Increase minimum support prices of paddy, wheat, pulses, and oil seeds and stop corruption at the purchase centres for these crops

–          Give farmers a pension of at least Rs. 5000

–          Give compensation to farmers who have been displaced by the construction of the Arjun Sahayak Dam and who’s land has been affected by the Arjun Sahayak Dam, Lahchoora, Kabrai, and Chandraawal Barrages

–          Desilting and cleaning of all lakes and canals to provide for functional modes of irrigation


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