New Delhi, 13th June 2023: On Monday, a significant number of farmers gathered in Pipli, Kurukshetra district, to participate in a mahapanchayat, aiming to exert pressure on the government to implement a minimum support price (MSP) for sunflower seeds. The busy Delhi-Chandigarh national highway was blocked for over six hours as a result of this agitation.

Videos and images released by news organization ANI depict numerous angry farmers taking to the streets in protest with their tractors.

Gurnam Singh Charuni, the leader of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Charuni), demanded the highway blockade after the government’s deadline to commence purchasing at the MSP of Rs. 6,400 per quintal expired on Monday.

During the mahapanchayat, sponsored by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) and organized by various khaps, farmers voiced their concerns and advocated for their rights.

Notably, the presence of influential figures like Bajrang Punia, the renowned Olympic medal-winning wrestler, and Rakesh Tikait, a prominent BKU leader, bolstered the movement.

The protest is a response to a notification issued on May 30 by the Haryana Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department, which states that bajra and sunflower seeds have been included in the list of crops covered under the Bhavantar Bharpai Yojna. Instead of receiving MSP for these commodities, government agencies will pay farmers Rs. 1,000 per quintal for selling their produce to private buyers.

However, farmers estimate that this measure will result in a loss of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 12,000 per acre for them. Consequently, they have vowed to continue demonstrating until government agencies start procuring their products at MSP.