NEW DELHI: Indian farmers plan to march to the capital New Delhi on Wednesday as they push their demands for higher crop prices, a protest leader said, after several rounds of failed talks.

Farm union leaders are seeking guarantees of state support or a minimum purchase price for farmers’ produce.

“On March 6, farmers will come to Delhi from all over the country by train, bus and air,” protest leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal told reporters. He said farmers would also block railway lines across the country on March 10.

The protests began in early February with hundreds of farmers in East Punjab aiming to take their campaign to Delhi. They were blocked by police and paramilitary troops at Shambhu, at the border with neighbouring Haryana state, about 200 km from the capital.

The government announces support prices for more than 20 crops each year, but state agencies buy only rice and wheat at the support level, which benefits only about 6 per cent of farmers who raise those two crops.

In 2021, when the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi repealed farm laws, the government said it would set up a panel of growers and government officials to find ways to ensure support prices for all farm produce.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2024

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