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Haryana farmers hold mahapanchayat, disrupt traffic on Delhi-Chandigarh highway

Kurukshetra: Traffic on the Delhi-Chandigarh National Highway was disrupted on Monday as farmers gathered there after holding a mahapanchayat in this district to press for minimum support price for sunflower seed.

Apart from leaders of various khaps and Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, Olympic medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia, one of the grapplers who have been demanding action against outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, were present at the mahapanchayat.

The "MSP Dilao, Kisan Bachao mahapanchayat", called by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni), was being held at a grain market in Pipli close to National Highway-44 which was blocked by farmers a few days ago demanding that the government procure sunflower seed at MSP.

After the mahapanchayat the farmers started marching towards the highway.
Farmers led by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni had June 6 blocked the national highway near Shahabad for over six hours demanding that the government procure sunflower seeds at minimum support price (MSP). Police used water cannons and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters.

Later, nine BKU (Charuni) leaders, including its president, were arrested over various charges, including rioting and unlawful assembly.

Addressing the mahapanchayat, some farm leaders criticised the government for its "anti-farmers" policies and police actions against their leaders. They demanded that the government procure sunflower seeds at MSP and that the protesters arrested in Shahabad recently be released.

Elaborate police arrangements have been made to prevent any untoward incident. BKU leaders held a meeting with senior police officials on Sunday night to ensure that the mahapanchayat is held smoothly.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had on Saturday released Rs 29.13 crore as interim compensation to 8,528 farmers for sunflowers grown on 36,414 acres. The farmers are demanding that the state government procure sunflowers at an MSP of Rs 6,400 per quintal.

Under the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojana -- price difference payment scheme -- the state government is giving Rs 1,000 per quintal as interim support for sunflower crop sold below MSP. (PTI)

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