Tuesday, 30 November, 2021
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At Tikri, many farmers drowning in debt: ‘It’s a cost we were ready to pay’

As songs to have fun Gurupurab resonated within the background, 70-year-old Karunjit Singh collected his belongings in a blue bag, searching for eight members of his household. The farmer from Bathinda is lastly able to go residence.

“All of us got here on a single tractor a 12 months in the past, and we are going to return at the moment. We develop gehu (wheat) on 4 bighas of land however may not likely take care of the crops since we have been busy with the protests. I misplaced round Rs 25,000 this 12 months — but it surely’s a value we’re able to pay,” he mentioned.

Whereas the jubilation at Singhu was obvious via the day, the temper at Tikri was extra muted — although nonetheless buoyant. Farmers right here largely belong to districts in Punjab and Haryana, and have stayed put on the website via a harsh winter and lengthy summer time. On Friday, a number of farmers mentioned they’ll look forward to a go-ahead from the management earlier than deciding whether or not to return or keep again.

Others deliberate a visit again to their villages to organize for the following harvest — and brace for challenges comparable to a rise in fertiliser value to file rainfall. Some say they’re in debt since a big a part of their time and vitality was spent on the protest over the previous 12 months.

Amongst them is Tej Singh (75), who has been at Tikri border for over 300 days. He grows wheat on a bigha of land in Bathinda. He mentioned he received’t have fun till the federal government implements a minimal assist worth (MSP) for crops and different reforms to lower electrical energy payments and handle the debt disaster.

“I’ve a debt of over Rs 50,000… We have been right here to repeal the legal guidelines and that has occurred — however all our calls for haven’t been met. They haven’t given a assure on the MSP but. This isn’t a victory but,” he mentioned.

Making his method via the langar the place volunteers distributed kheer and bananas was Jagbir Singh, a 59-year-old farmer from Haryana’s Jhajjar. He too has been at this website for over 300 days.

“I develop wheat on 5 bighas of land. I made a loss this 12 months and have a debt of over Rs 1 lakh. It’s tough to fathom a life after this. However at the moment we keep in mind farmers who laid down their lives for the trigger,” he mentioned.

Selecting out jackets handed out to farmers to guard them from the chilly was Akbar Singh (68) from Punjab’s Fazilka district. His ideas have been on the over 300 quintals of rice he couldn’t promote this 12 months “on the charge I wished”. “That coupled with the excessive value of fertilisers and different bills has crippled me. I’m observing a lack of Rs 1 lakh. Bohot dukh hai,” he mentioned.

Bhup Singh Kundu (57), from Rohtak district in Haryana, grows bajra (pearl millet) and rice on his 250 bighas of land. He has made peace with the loss he has incurred over the previous 12 months. “Yahi toh andolan hai (that is the motion). I made this determination once I got here right here,” he mentioned.

He has a mortgage of over Rs 2 lakh after he purchased a tractor final 12 months, however he’s trying ahead to the following harvest. “Now I’ve to consider that. Ten folks depend upon me for his or her day by day bread,” he mentioned.

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