ISLAMABAD: A large number of farmers led by Kissan Ittehad Pakistan (KIP) on Wednesday staged a sit-in and demanded of the government to reduce the price of fertilizers including urea and DAP as well as provide electricity to farmers at the rate of Rs5.35 per unit.
The protesting farmers led by KIP Chairman Khalid Hussain, after removing the containers and other barricades erected by the capital police to stop them at the entry point of the capital city, entered Islamabad.
Farmers earlier announced that they would stage a protest at D-Chowk but after their negotiations with the district administration, they staged a sit-in at Blue Area and refused to move to F-9 Park. They were of the view that they would continue their protest till fulfilment of their demands.
The capital police blocked entry into Red Zone from NADRA Chowk, Ayub Chowk, Express Chowk as wellas blocked some other roads due to which heavy traffic jam was witnessed in the city, and motorists faced problems.
The protesting farmers have demanded to reduce the power tariff, regretting that the government had raised the electricity to Rs36 per unit. They demanded to provide them electricity at the rate of Rs5.35 per unit. The demonstrators have also demanded subsidies on fertilisers and diesel, while taxes on agricultural machinery and tractors should be abolished.
The protesters urged the government to fix the minimum support price (MSP) at Rs4,000 per 40kg. They also urged the government to decrease the prices of pesticides. They said that government needs to take effective steps to stop the black marking of fertilisers. Farmers said that loans should be provided to them at a low-interest rate.
They said that the unbearable price hike in fertilizer, electricity bills, and other agriculture inputs has made agriculture nonviable. The production of major crops including wheat, sugarcane, rice, and cotton will decline further if the government did not pay heed to the rising electricity bills and input costs.
The KIP chairman said that they would not end their sit-in till the fulfilment of their demands. He said so far no one from the federal government has contacted them for negotiations. The government needs to sit with farmers and hold negotiations about their demands, he said, adding that it was the responsibility of the government to solve the grievances of the farmers.
Till the filing of this report, the government has not sent any delegation to negotiate with the protesters and they continued their sit-in.
A heavy contingent of police personnel and prison vans were deployed at the protest venue as well as across the city.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022