A massive agitation has been planned from July 21st to 25th by the farmers organization in Punjab to thwart the bid of the corporates to grab the land and pollute the waters of the rivers. Despite being the dominant state of agriculture, Punjab is a facing severe shortage of water for agriculture. Issue illustrates the patronising of corporate plunder by the rulers in the state and Centre. In a meeting staged in Abohar block in Nehru park thousands of farmers gathered .A dharna will be launched for a prolonged period outside Axion office . The participating organisations are the Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan) and the Kisan Sangharsh Commitee.
Union leader Gurbhej Singh Roheaana narrated how endorsed by the World Bank the corporates planted factories by grabbing the farmers land near river banks, with the waste discarded into the rivers. They summed up the nexus between the infecting of river waters with the wastage and the anti-people economic policies of the rulers which patronized corporate plunder. Under the false pretext of claiming to distribute water to the people it sapped up the river water for its own usage. The problem was linked to the corporate loot on the whole, backed by the ruling parties as well as robbing the farmers of the right to water, on pretext of centralisation.
The organizations chalked out a plan to confront the corporate monopoly in its very belly, hitting them at their strongest point. They summarized how the corporates purchased water at the cheapest rates and sold diesel at virtually unaffordable rates. Activists are determined to send shivers down the spines of the corporates.A mobilization of over 25000 persons is expected.
Kirti Kisan Union protest in Chandigarh
Earlier on June 30th the Kirti Kisan Union staged a protest of around 10000 persons in Chandigarh-Mohali demanding solution to the aggravating water crisis in Punjab. It shook the rulers in their very backyard.,projecting issues in all spheres.Mohali Police tried to obstruct protesting farmers at YPS Chowk with Barricading but the barricades could not withstand the wrath of the farmers. After that police offered to negotiate. Despite the busyness of paddy sowing and rains, a large number of farmers from different districts of the state converged join the protest. Earlier, the farmers rallied in front of Gurdwara Amb Sahib after which they marched towards Chandigarh to hand over their memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister.
Addressing a gathering of farmers, the state president of the organization Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, general secretary Satbir Singh Sultani and vice president Rajinder Singh Deep Singh Wala said that Punjab despite being the dominant state of agriculture was facing severe shortage of water for agriculture. The crisis is accentuating day by day due to incompetent policies and mis-management of three sources of water, ground water, river-canal water and rain water. The right to water of the state has been robbed by the Union Government through the Dam Security Act under the agenda of centralization. They appealed to the farmers to mobilize a massive public struggle against the Union government on this issue in future and demanded the repeal of this act. They also demanded that the Punjab government should stand for the defence of federal structure of the constitution and pass a resolution in the Assembly to repeal the Act.
Addressing the gathering, Finance Secretary Harmesh Singh Dhesi and Press Secretary Jatinder Singh Chhina said that there was a need to develop the canal system encompassing the entire state to manage the unused flow of water in the rivers and also to give priority to the policy of irrigation through canal water. Stressing on the need to make arrangements for making canal water accessible all the year round, they demanded to start a pilot project by formulating a concrete policy for recharge of ground water. In addition to formulating a policy for urban and rural areas to send rainwater to the underground water table, the demand for recharge points on canals was also raised by the farmer’s leaders.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist. Toured India, particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements