Deregulation of diesel price worse than removal of cylinder subsidy, says BKU

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) general secretary and national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait on Thursday said that the proposed deregulation of diesel prices would hit the people more than removal of subsidy for cooking gas cylinders.

Talking to The Indian Express at the BKU's camp at Sector-6 in Kumbh Mela, the spokesperson said, "Deregulating the diesel prices will lead to an increase in the cost of fuel. It would directly lead to increase in input costs, because a large number of farmers use diesel generators for irrigation purposes. Also, the cost of transportation would increase. Ultimately, the cost would be transferred to the consumer. We don't want that."

Tikait further added that the issue of whether the farmers should be given subsidy on diesel would be discussed at the national executive meeting, which will be held on Friday at the camp. "If the government begins giving subsidy to the farmers on diesel, then there are all the chances of black-marketers getting into the picture. We will discuss ways among ourselves before deciding on the next course of action," he said. The BKU has already planned a national meeting of farmers at New Delhi on March 18 and its preparations have begun.

On Friday, the national executive will meet for about two hours, which will be followed by mahapanchayat in which the farmers from various regions of the country would put forward their problems and views.

The BKU has been holding national camps every year during the Magh Mela and also the Kumbh Mela on the banks of Sangam for the past 25 years. "Every year, we meet here for three days - January 16, 17 and 18 - to assess what we have done so far and what should be the course of action in the next six months. Then, another three-day meeting is held in June in Haridwar," Tikait said.

The issue of land acquisition, particularly the manner in which it was being done in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, would also be discussed in Friday's meeting. Besides, the issue of minimum support prices too would be discussed.

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