By: Muskan Kumar — Correspondent
Farm Unions have finally ended their year long protest, after the government agreed to look into substantial legislation for minimum support price (MSP). This is after the government repealed 3 controversial farm laws that farmers say would have put them at the mercy of private companies.
Economist Devinder Sharma says that as soon as farmers plant a seed, they are already making a loss. “Farmers know this may be their last chance to secure a stable future for themselves. This is a do or die situation.”
The 3 farm laws aimed to shift how farmers sell their crops so they could sell produce at market price to private players instead of at government regulated markets. This had raised concerns of the erasure of MSP and more obstacles for farmers who are already earning less than the national average.
While official protests are off, farm leader Gurnam Singh Charuni says, “We will hold a review meeting on 15 January. If the government doesn’t fulfill its promises, we may resume the protest.”
Gurvidner Singh, a farmer from Ambala, Punjab, says that it was an emotional moment for farmers. He was part of protests at the Singhu border, one of three main protest sites. “We never thought it would be this hard to go back home as we have established a deep connection with the people and the place. This agitation will be in our memories forever.”
Lakhmir Singh, 49, says that they are happy they won.
“But the only thing that pains us today is the absence of those whom we lost during the agitation,” said Singh.
According to farmer unions, 700 farmers died during the protests.
76 year old Jasveer Kaur from Pubjab’s Sangrur district says that the yearlong protests were full of hardship.
“It was painful to see so many of our farmers losing their lives here during this protest,” said Kaur, “whether it was the harsh winter, the unbearable summer heat of Delhi or the rains, we faced everything and did not leave. This victory is the result of our commitment.”
She says she endured everything because she felt it was necessary. ““I joined the protest for the future of my grandchildren. This fight was for the protection of their land and their livelihoods.”
Preparations to leave were emotional, as those who had spent long months at the main protest sites spent their last days with the community that had formed there. Ranjit Singh, a farmer at the Singhu border, says he and other farmers made sure to visit those who had helped them during the protests.
“All those families were in tears as we were prepared to leave,” said Singh.