While Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is sitting on an indefinite hunger strike “until peace is restored”, state Agriculture Minister Gauri Shankar Bisen said on Saturday that farmers cannot be given a loan waiver. “The demand for loan waiver to farmers in Madhya Pradesh holds no justification as we are taking back loans at a rate of 10 per cent less than the principal amount. When we did not impose any interests on loan, how can it be waived off,” Bisen told reporters.
Farmers’ protests that started in the state on June 1, demanding better prices for their produce and debt relief, turned violent on June 6 when six farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur. The violence has spilled over to several other districts, including the Malwa-Nimad area and even reached the state capital. Angry farmers have been blocking roads, vandalising property and setting vehicles on fire.
Meanwhile, Chouhan started his indefinite fast at BHEL’s Dussehra Maidan here on Saturday till peace is restored in the state. He is also running is government from the venue.