Angry over not getting remunerative price for their soyabean crop at the Agar Malwa mandi, hundreds of irate farmers pelted stones, damaged furniture at the mandi office before police moved in, used tear gas shells and cane-charged them on Monday afternoon. In the stone pelting, several persons including a naib tehsildar were injured.
The farmers’ protest for getting low price for their produce has been recurring in Madhya Pradesh over the past few months. It started in the first week of June and gained momentum after five farmers were killed in police firing in Pipliyamandi, Mandsaur.
According to officials, tension was on the rise in the mandi when bidding for soyabean by traders did not rise above Rs 2000 – Rs 2100 per quintal in the initial round of bidding. This angered the farmers who kept on demanding that the prices should be around Rs 2500 per quintal. The mandi officials were informed of the problems and a second round of bidding started in the afternoon. The price went up a bit but not by much, further angering the farmers.
Soon the farmers and the traders started abusing each other and suddenly the stone pelting started. Farmers damaged the weighing scale of the farmers, while some of them rushed inside the mandi office, smashed window panes and broke furniture in the office. In the melee, naib tehsildar Mukesh Soni was injured. It was after Soni’s injury that the police tear gassed the mob and cane charged them.
According to SP Manoj Singh, seven persons were arrested, but all of them have been released on bail. “Police used a lot of restrain in dealing with the situation. Most of the people who were creating trouble were not farmers,” the SP asserted.
The collector Ajay Gupta said there was no problem in the morning during the first round of auctions. In the second round, some anti-socials started shouting slogans and creating trouble which resulted in stone pelting. “The situation is now under control,” the collector said.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Anil Yadav said that farmers are not getting their fair price due to recently introduced Bhavantar scheme (Crop price deficit payment scheme). “Before Bhavantar price of soyabean was around Rs 2800 to Rs 2900 per quintal, but after this scheme was introduced, the price has crashed to Rs 2000 to Rs 2100 and today it sold as low as Rs 1500 in Agar Malwa mandi which angered the farmers. The Bhavantar scheme is a flop, it is not transparent and we demand that minimum support price should be reintroduced.