Distressed Farmers Narrate Their Woes at Kisan Mukti March
Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim, Sandeep Suman
Cameraperson: Shivkumar Maurya
Its almost post dinner time and thousands of farmers decided to rest for the night after marching for as long as 12 hours straight from different parts of Delhi to reach Ramlila Maidan.
Though they decide to tuck themselves in to sleep, most of them are remained restless and willing to talk about their woes to the media – which did not stop hovering around. At regular intervals, a few volunteers were offering tea to other peasants.
Bhausaheb Salunke has travelled to Delhi from Akole in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra for the fourth time, hoping its his last.
“I have four daughters, a son and a wife. Its our retirement age but since farming does not fetch us enough to sustain, my wife and I are forced to get a job, which pays us Rs 6,000 each. She works in a tobacco factory and I, as a security guard at an SBI ATM booth. Seeing our condition, my son does not want to pursue farming.”
Saroja is a farmer in Telangana and does not understand Hindi but struggles through it to make the media understand the tough times she is going through. She travelled thousands of kilometres to appeal for an absolute loan waiver for people like her.
43-year-old Gaur amma from Karnataka earns around Rs 6,000 a month and pays a rent of Rs 3,000. She says her husband left her and never returned. She breaks down at every mention of her husband.
“I have nothing. No house, no land, just my two kids – a 5-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. I have to manage it single-handed. I have no support. All I want from the government is to help me settle. I don’t have a house. I spend half my earning on the rent of the house that I live in. I slog the entire day to sustain my two children. Please help me!”
“The government does not fix the MSP initially and the farmers are forced to sell at a much lower price. I took a loan on Rs 2 lakh in 1997 to buy a tractor, which has increased to 10 lakh in these years. I own 10 acres of land and yet have a loan of Rs 10 lakh. Before 2000, we got good price for our crop. We would not face any loss. The rates have been dipping since then. Back in the day, a teacher, a soldier and a farmer would earn the same. But today a farmer earns way lesser. The next generation does not want to be involved in farming.”
“Thakurs have looted us. We own such small piece of land that we have to work on their farmlands. They tricked us and grabbed our land too. We are here to share our sorrows. Who and how do we fight when we don’t have an income? They filed a false case and claimed that the land is theirs. Changed names on the documents. By the time we reached, (the court) gave the order in favour of them.”
These farmers will walk to Parliament Street on 30 November, demanding from the government a special Parliament session to discuss agrarian crisis and pass two bills.
The two bills are 'Farmers' Freedom From Indebtedness Bill, 2018' and ' Farmers' Right to Guaranteed Remunerative Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Commodities Bill, 2018' to ensure liberation from debt and remunerative prices of agricultural products.