Farmers in Gwalior-Chambal root for change

Farmers across the Gwalior-Chambal region are angry with both the Modi and Shivraj government for their failure to ensure right prices for their crops and appear to have made up their mind to usher in change. PTI file photo

Touted as an innovative intervention to ease agrarian distress, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana, a scheme that compensated farmers if market prices for farm produce fell below support prices, appears to have become its biggest bane.

Farmers across the Gwalior-Chambal region are angry with both the Modi and Shivraj government for their failure to ensure right prices for their crops and appear to have made up their mind to usher in change.

"Bhavantar Yojana has flopped. We do not get the right prices for our crop,” Ramesh Singh Yadav, 52, a farmer in the Bhaurana village in Shivpuri district, told DH.

Hansraj Jatav of Bilara village has harvested tomatoes on his farm but is worried about the market prices which are on a downward spiral.

"Tomatoes are fetching a price of Rs 2 per kg,” Jatav told DH adding that input costs for farming have risen sharply.

Fifty-year-old Brajesh Sharma had planted groundnuts, mustard and bajra in Dhovni village in adjoining Sheopur district but is not hopeful of getting the right price for his crop.

"The bajra crop has already been harvested but the price is not right. The market prices are in the range of Rs 1,400 against the minimum support price of Rs 1,950 per quintal,” Sharma said.

Ask Sharma about politics and he curses both the Congress and the BJP for their farm policies. “I will definitely cast my vote. I will neither vote for the phool (BJP) or haath (Congress). This time I will vote for Haathi (BSP). I don’t know the candidate, but will still vote for him,” said Sharma, whose village falls under the Vijaypur Assembly segment.

In nearby Tharra village, 40-year-old Sanjay Verma is angry over the rising prices of diesel and fertiliser. “Earlier, a bag of fertiliser used to cost Rs 1,100, now it has increased to Rs 1,400. Diesel prices are rising every day. How are we to survive?” Verma questions.

"Shivraj worked better earlier. Of late, it has only been slogans and no delivery. Iss baar badlaav hai. (This time it is going to change),” said 78-year-old Lala Ram, from Sirsod village in Karera Assembly segment in Shivpuri district.

Last year, to assuage the farmers, the Madhya Pradesh government had unveiled the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana, a price-deficit payment scheme, to compensate farmers if the market price for certain crops fell below the support price.

A number of farmers complained about the cumbersome procedures to avail the benefits of the scheme and cited instances of petty corruption by officials to set things right.

Both the BJP and the Congress has been aggressive in their pursuit of farmers. While the BJP has promised irrigation to every farmland in the state, the Congress has promised waiver of farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh in their respective manifestos.

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Farmers in Gwalior-Chambal root for change

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