Tamil Nadu farmers today called off their strike over drought relief package in Delhi till May 25 after assurance from chief minister E Palaniswamy.
Chief Minister Palaniswamy met the farmers, who had been protesting at Jantar Mantar for past 41 days, on Sunday. He urged the farmers to call of their protest urging that their demands would be met.
"If our demands are not fulfilled we will start our protest again after May 25. If we get train tickets, will leave today," Ayyakanu, the farmer who has been leading the protest said.
"We have protested in different ways. We have been reduced to beggars and have been demanding profit price, linking of rivers, Cauvery water management board. Today our CM came at 7:30 am and sat with us for an hour. He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on our behalf," he added.
The protesting farmers have been demanding a drought-relief package of Rs 40,000 crore, farm loan waiver and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the centre.
In the last 41 days, they have carried skulls of other farmers who committed suicide, flogged themselves, conducted mock funerals, held mouse and snakes in their mouth, shaved their heads and even drunk urine in protest.
REASON FOR PROTEST
Tamil Nadu farmers depend on winter monsoon for their livelihood and prosperity. But by the first week of January, more than one-third of the paddy fields were reported to have gone unsowed.
Last year northeast monsoon had the worst spell in the last 140 years. Against the average of 438.2 mm rain, the October-December season recorded a mere 168.4 mm rain.Even cyclone Vardah did not help much despite bringing heavy rain for five days in Tamil Nadu besides causing huge loss.
The average shortfall of rain was 62 per cent but it was more than 80 per cent in several agricultural pockets. The previous worst was recorded in 1876 when October-December period received only 163.5 cm rain.
The Tamil Nadu government officially declared a drought in the state on January 10 this year. But by then more than 140 farmers had reportedly ended their lives since October. A NHRC report sent to Tamil Nadu government on January 5 mentioned about 106 farmers committing suicide in one month.