MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan ends fast; announces farmer-friendly decisions
Bhopal : Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday ended his day-old indefinite fast which he started here for the restoration of peace in his state rocked by violence during a farmers' agitation.
He announced a series of decisions aimed at the welfare of the state's farmers, including buying of all crops on Minimum Support Prices, purchase of milk as per Amul Dairy's formula, and setting up of farmers markets in Madhya Pradesh to save them from the clutches of middlemen.
The government has decided to set up a Rs 1,000 crore corpus to ensure stabilisation of farm produce prices so as to ensure remunerative prices of crops. There will be no land acquisition without the consent of affected farmers.
Former Chief Minister Kailash Joshi offered coconut water to Chouhan for ending his fast at the Dussehra Maidan here.
Chouhan started his fast on Saturday in the wake of violence that marred the farmers' protest from June 1, launched to press their demand for debt waiver and better prices for farm produce.
Madhya Pradesh is the only state in the country where farmers get interest-free loans and are charged less rate of interest on money given for buying seeds and fertilisers, he said.
Hinting that there is no scope for loan waivers, Chouhan said 80 per cent of the state's farmers took interest-free loans. Only 20 per cent of farmers were loan defaulters and efforts will be made to bring them under the interest-free loan beneficiaries category.
The Chief Minister said his government had already implemented many of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee recommendations. A Land Use Advisory Committee will be set up as per the panel recommendations, which will advise the farmers on cultivation-related issues.
The Chief Minister had earlier said he lived for the state's people and the farmers and would also die for them. He said he would ensure farmers don't face amy problems.
At least five peasants were killed in police firing in Mandsaur on June 6. Farmer leaders, however, put the number of deaths at eight. One farmer died later of injuries in clashes with police.
The violence by Madhya Pradesh farmers in Mandsaur has spilled over to several other districts, including the Malwa-Nimad area and even reached the state capital.
State Ministers and the kin of peasants killed in police firing earlier urged the Chief Minister to end his fast. On Saturday night, Chouhan met the family members of the killed farmers. He also met several representatives of farmers' organisations and listened to their problems on Saturday.
Earlier, both the Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister Gauri Shankar Bisen had ruled out any loan waiver, following which a group of farmers started a counter-protest opposite Chouhan's podium at the same site.