‘Delhi chalo’ march put on hold till Feb 21: Farmer leader Pandher

Teargas shelling on protesting farmers at Haryana-Delhi border on February 13, 2024.

Haryana: Following the conclusion of the fourth round of discussions with the government of India, farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher announced on Monday that they will carefully consider the GoI’s proposal to provide guarantees for the purchase of five crops at the minimum support price (MSP).

Additionally, the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march has been temporarily postponed until February 21. Peaceful protests are planned at Shambhu and Khanauri borders, situated along the Haryana entry points, until the specified date.

Pandher explained, “Our decision to proceed to Delhi is on standby. On February 21 at 11am, we will move forward peacefully. Until then, we will endeavor to present our concerns to the GoI.”

The GoI, during the latest round of talks, proposed assurances on purchasing three pulses (arhar, tur, and urad), along with cotton and maize, at the MSP. Central agencies such as the NCCF, NAFED, and the Cotton Corporation of India are expected to enter into a five-year contract to procure these crops from farmers.

The three-member GoI ministers, including Arjun Munda, Piyush Goyal, and Nityanand Rai, have requested farmer leaders to discuss and provide consent to their proposal before finalising the plan with the government of India.

Addressing the media post-meeting, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expressed optimism, stating that if MSP is guaranteed for these crops, Punjab could lead the nation in pulse production. He emphasised the potential for a second green revolution, suggesting that assured MSP for cotton and maize could encourage farmers to diversify crops, offering a significant boost to agricultural diversification in the country.

Mann highlighted that by ensuring remunerative prices, farmers could contribute to reducing the country’s reliance on imported pulses and promote domestic production.

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