Because of some serious miscommunication problems, the last day of the Kisan Swaraj Yatra in Uttar Pradesh was a washout. For one thing, the team that had set off in Lucknow at 4 pm on the 27th was able to come into Moradabad only at 10 am even though the distance was just 350 kms. There were huge traffic jams created at railway crossings and there were several such crossings! At each such closed railway gate, it took hours to come out of the jam, only to be stuck at the next one. By the time 4 am arrived and close enough to the destination, it was dense fog that began slowing down progress.
Meanwhile, villagers who had already assembled the earlier night thinking that the meeting was on the 27th night started trickling in from early morning, to have informal conversations on where farmers are losing out and what needs to be done. In small batches, these discussions went on for a long time, even after the bus finally reached.
There were detailed discussions on the National Commission on Farmers’ recommendations and the fifth report. “Why are you not asking for the implementation of the NCF report? It is always simple to take a one-line demand”, felt some of the senior activists of Bhartiya Kissan Union. “There are some nuanced views on some of the recommendations in the Kisan Policy. Moreover, what we are putting forward through the Kisan Swaraj Yatra as four main demands is not very difficult to comprehend either”, we kept saying.
After a breakfast, we had more informal discussions as we decided to allow the bus driver to catch some sleep. A few reporters started coming in and we appraised them about the Yatra and its objectives.
We then moved to the Kisan Bhawan of Chajlet, a building built by BKU members with their funds. Here, several speakers from BKU and the Yatra spoke to a group of 35 farmers. Preparations for mobilizing farmers to Rajghat began in earnest here.
BKU leaders explained in detail the economic exploitation that has always existed of farmers, so that other sectors could move forward. The pricing and regulatory systems in other sectors as compared to agriculture and the number of restrictions on primary producers, as compared to the processing sectors were discussed at length. The demands around pricing were fine-tuned through this process.
The local BKU leader packed some lunch for us and after waiting for this to be placed in the bus, we left for Haridwar and our day in Uttarakhand at around 4 pm.