Farmers' issue
They now plan to join hands with farmers from other states.
File photograph

It has been close to a month since farmers from Tamil Nadu suspended their protests in New Delhi, after Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami promised to fulfill their demands.

But with only a week left for their deadline to end, the farmers claim 'nothing' has been done by the State Government to improve their condition and they are ready to start a nationwide agitation this time around. 

In the wake of a massive drought in Tamil Nadu, 80 farmers from Trichy, Karur and Thanjavur stepped into the capital on March 13, to demand the immediate release of funds to compensate crop loss. From skulls in their hands to snakes in their mouths, they used all possible means to express their desperation. When not allowed to meet the Prime Minister, they even stripped themselves of clothes and rolled on the roads.

Several national and state leaders visited them, requesting that they withdraw protests. But it was finally after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister visited them with assurances, that they temporarily withdrew protests.

"We had given them time till May 25 to start working on our demands. But nothing has been done so far. It has been a complete eyewash," Premkumar, a farmer leader alleged. Fifteen farmers from Tamil Nadu led by Iyyakannu, the Tamil Nadu chief of the Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, have now reached Chennai to meet the Chief Minister again. Following this, they will be leaving to Delhi to meet heads of farmer unions from 28 states on May 21 and plan a nationwide agitation. 

"The Chief Minister granted us an appointment today. But he has taken a flight to Coimbatore. Clearly farmers don't deserve to even be met," says Iyyakannu, in a statement. The farmers will now be meeting the Agricultural secretary before they leave to the capital.

"We now realise that it was a mistake to call off protests. The state had no plans to do anything. They just wanted to get rid of us from the capital because people were taking notice of us," laments Premkumar. The protesters maintained that their demand is for the Centre to provide relief demanded by the state to the farmers, waive-off their debts, introduce pensions for agriculturalists and also ensure the interlinking of rivers in the country.