BKU wants decision to scrap wheat import duty revoked

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) The BKU on Tuesday decried the Centre’s recent move to completely scrap duty on import of wheat and threatened a nation-wide protest in March next year if the decision is not revoked.

Addressing a press conference here, Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) General Secretary Yudhvir Singh demanded revocation of the government decision, which he said was taken “to facilitate traders at the cost of farmers’ lives”.

“This year, the yield of wheat is surplus, about 10 per cent higher compared to the last year. Yet, the government scrapped import duty first to 10 per cent and now completely,” he said.

“It wants a select few to own the sector and force farmers to work under them. It wants to ruin farmers. It should reverse it decision,” said Singh.

Blaming the government for wrong and anti-farmer policies, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, President of the BKU’s Punjab unit, said: “Farmers’ earning is less than their expenditure. They are in great distress and they are forced to commit suicide.”

“We will organise a mega protest in March, in which farmers from across the country will participate.”

The BKU leaders said that several small-scale protests would be held across the country before the mega one in March.

They alleged that the BJP-led central government had not given them time and opportunity to express their concerns.

“Despite several requests, we were not entertained either by the Union Agriculture Minister or his ministry. We have written several letters to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) but it has also not replied yet,” said BKU national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait.

“Earlier, (during the Congress-led UPA rule) we were given chance to present our concerns,” he added.

The BKU leaders said the government must form a nodal committee to address problems related to farmers, since 14 ministries were involved in the subject.

The farmer leaders also demanded financial assistance of Rs 25,000 per acre as compensation to the farmers in the drought-hit states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

They sought complete loan waiver for farmers across the country.

–IANS

spk/nir/vt

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