Angry over the Haryana government’s decision not to buy sunflower seeds at the minimum support price (MSP), farmers in the region blocked the Delhi-Chandigarh highway (National Highway-44) near Shahbad in Kurukshetra district on Tuesday.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni called for a deadline given to the government to start procurement in MSP, blocking the highway. ₹6,400 per quintal expired on Monday.
Amidst heavy police deployment and barricading, farmers gathered at the Shahbad grain market in the morning and decided to block the highway as their talks with the administration yielded no results.
Farmers led by Charuni blocked the highway by crossing barricades and parking tractor-trailers loaded with sunflower seeds.
Farmers complain that in the absence of government agencies, they are forced to sell their produce to private buyers ₹4,000 per quintal against the MSP of Rs ₹6,400.
Farmers: Up to losses ₹12,000 per acre
On May 30, the Haryana Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department issued a notification announcing that sunflower seeds and millets have been included in the list of crops covered under Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana (BBY), meaning government agencies will not procure these crops under MSP. But will provide ₹1,000 per quintal to farmers to sell their produce to private buyers.
Farmers said that there will be loss in this step ₹10,000 onwards ₹12,000 per acre so they will continue their protest till the government agencies procure their produce at MSP.
Vehicles diverted through the link road
“We will not end this protest till the government starts procuring MSP, even as we are ready to face police action,” said Charuni.
Kurukshetra Superintendent of Police Surinder Voria said traffic on the highway has been diverted through the link road and police have been deployed to assist commuters. He said that talks are going on with the agitators to lift the blockade.
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