Pune: The Shetkari Sanghatna (Sharad Joshi) has declared that it will not participate in the statewide farmers’ strike that has been declared by major farmers’ outfits to protest against the ongoing agrarian crisis.
The strike will mark one year of the unprecedented farmers’ strike observed across the State on June 1, 2017. The Shetkari Sanghatna, born out of the leadership of Sharad Joshi, has always had a philosophically different approach to the solutions of the farmers’ issues. It has been demanding the complete deregularisation of the agricultural sector and open market access to the farmers. The June 1 strike, according to the statement taken out by the Sanghatna, will only make the farmers more dependent on the government.
Sharad Gadre, the Pune district president of the Sanghatna, said that farmers are suffering at the hands of the government. “I had sowed ‘tur’ in my farm in Baramati. When we went to NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd) to sell the ‘tur’, we got to know that payments of almost Rs 800 are pending with the federation,” Gadre said, adding, “If the government is unable to pay the current rates, how will it pay the Swaminathan Commission rates?”
Seema Narode, the western Maharashtra president of the women’s wing of the Shetkari Sanghatna, said that their opposition is not really towards the strike but to the demands of the strike. “A strike is a useful tool and one has the right to protest. However, the Shetkari Sanghatna does not agree with the demands of the strike. Those demands are nothing but socialist demands,” said Narode, adding, “We have seen what socialism has done to this country up to now.”
Explaining her stand, Narode said, “The government intervention in the market does not let the farmer earn the benefits of the open market. The government wants to protect the urban consumers from price rise so it controls the rates when they go up,” adding, “Why can’t the farmers earn the profit based on the increased demand? Why should the government intervene? Let the farmers compete and reap the benefits.”
“Socialist policies have ruined the farmers of this country. They have made the farmers completely dependent on the government,” Narode said, “The demands like loan waiver, MSP are out of a socialist mindset. We rather have the government do nothing and open up the market for farmers. If the urban consumers want cheap food, let them import from somewhere else, why should the farmer suffer?”