Farmers’ agitation enters second day, vegetable prices soar

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NEW DELHI: Retail prices of vegetables shot up in some cities and fresh supply of farm produce was hit as the farmers’ agitation entered the second day on Saturday, June 2 with a Left-affiliated body saying the stir would intensify from June 5.
Agitating farmers stopped supply of vegetables, fruits, milk and other items to various cities.
Though the impact of farmers’ stir on price of farm commodities was not visible yesterday, the retail prices of vegetables in several cities rose in the range of Rs 10-20 per kg on June 2.
Several farmers’ organizations have jointly called the 10-day protest across 22 states in the country demanding remunerative prices for their produce, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and farm loan waivers, among others.
In Mumbai, the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) accused the Maharashtra government of having a “negative approach” to the protest.
“Farmers across the state are holding protests but the government seems to have a negative approach over keeping the promises it had made to farmers last month,” AIKS general secretary Ajit Navle told reporters.
At a meeting of farmers’ organizations on June 2, it was decided that the protests would be intensified from June 5, he said.
“We have given a call to farmers to stop selling their produce meant for cities,” Navle said.
Delhi may face problems in supply of fresh vegetables, fruits and other perishables in the next week in case the farmers’ stir in neighboring states intensifies.
Trucks of vegetables, fruits and other food items reached Delhi today but if the farmers resort to strict enforcement of cutting supply to the cities, the situation may deteriorate from next week, said Adil Khan, chairman of Azadpur Mandi.
“The Mandis in Delhi have stocks of the vegetables and other items. The stocks are enough to meet demand for next two days. After that if fresh supplies do not arrive, situation may worsen,” he said.
According to traders in Chandigarh, the price of tomatoes soared to Rs 20-25 per kg against Rs 10-15 per kg prevailing two days ago. Similarly, retail prices of potatoes, capsicum, bottle gourd, cucumber, have also gone up on short supplies.
Traders said the fresh supplies of vegetables coming through vehicles in mandis have dwindled, triggering fears of more price rise in coming days.
Farmers continued to hold protest at several places in Punjab, including Nabha, Ludhiana, Muktsar, Tarn Taran, Nangal and Ferozepur and there were reports that farmers even put up blockades not to allow supply of vegetables and milk entering cities.
Milk sellers were requesting the protesting farmers to allow them to sell their milk but they refused, said police.
Four farmers were taken into preventive custody, said Bathinda police station Sadar SHO Iqbal Singh. The farmers even staged sit-in outside police station demanding release of their fellow farmers.

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