Chandigarh, May 15 (PTI) Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Saturday asked the state government to pressure the Centre to accept demands of farmers protesting new farm laws so that they could return home from agitation sites near the Delhi borders.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders of the national capital since late November, demanding the repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee for the minimum support price on crops.
Describing the farmers' demand as 'legitimate', Hooda said as 'among the agitators are thousands of farmers from Haryana, it becomes the responsibility of the Haryana government to pressure the Union government by supporting the demands of farmers'.
'The state government should persuade the Centre to accept the demands of the farmers so that the path of their homecoming could be paved,' he said in a statement here.
Urging the Centre to adopt a 'sensitive attitude', the Congress leader said around 400 farmers have died during the course of the agitation due its 'neglect' and the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.
When all sectors of the economy were completely demolished during the COVID-19 period, it was farmers who took care of the country's economy, he said.
'Agriculture was one such sector whose growth rate was positive. If the government takes a positive initiative in this difficult coronavirus epidemic, then it will have a positive effect across the country. Farmers will work in their fields with double vigour and speed up the pace of development,' he said.
Hooda, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the Haryana Assembly, demanded that the state government continue procuring wheat.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of farmers have not been able to sell their wheat crop yet, he said.
'Until all farmers sell their crops, the procurement should continue,' he said. Hooda also demanded a cut in taxes to bring down fuel prices.
'Because of the increase in fuel prices, the additional burden of inflation also increases on farmers and common people, who are facing the pandemic and an economic recession,' he said. PTI VSD CHS RDK RDK