On 7th August 2018, farmers from Ramgarh block in Hanumangarh district blocked the traffic on the Delhi-Ganganagar highway. The peasants were forced to resort to these measures after the administration failed to arrive at satisfactory outcome through negotiations and discussion.
1350 farmers from nearby village have been demanding that they should immediately be given compensation under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme). The government and the administration have been denying them their due under various excuses, although the farmers have been depositing their premium amount regularly into the state bank account. The banks have refused payment of compensation to the farmers when they approached the bank for compensation for their damaged crops under the scheme. As a result of the nexus between the bank and the private insurance companies, the farmers have been denied crop insurance compensation to the tune of Rs. 8 to10 crore. The farmers are demanding that the government should take the responsibility to ensure that the farmers are compensated for crop damage.
On 26th June, hundreds of farmers had gheraoed the Ramgarh branch of State Bank of India demanding their compensation. While the gherao was on, the administration officials held discussions with the agitating farmers and conceded that the farmers are raising just demands. The administration gave a written submission to the farmers that compensation will be paid by 26th July.
The farmers waited till the last date for settlement of their dues. But when this did not happen, on 27th July, thousands of farmers gathered at the Ramgarh branch of SBI and started their indefinite gherao. Women participated in large numbers in the gherao. Lok Raj Sangathan is organising the farmers to bring them to a common platform and strengthen their unity and the struggle.
On 5th August the farmers locked the bank for a day. As the agitation continues to intensify, there are reports from various parts of Rajasthan that the banks have been denying the farmers their compensation in their areas as well. In Bhukraka 500 farmers have been denied compensation. Similarly 900 farmers in Gorkhana and 800 farmers in Gandhibadi have been denied compensation.
To further intensity their strusggle the farmers have resolved to court arrest in Ramgarh block. And if their demands are not met they plan to demonstrate at the office of the special district magistrate in Nohar.
From the manner in which the farmers are being denied compensation it is becoming clear that there is a nexus between the banks and the insurance companies, and they are conspiring against the farmers to siphon off the premium deposited by the farmers. The farmers are fast coming to the conclusion that the crop insurance scheme has been launched to ensure maximum profits for the private insurance companies and not really to provide relief to the farmers. These companies extract the premium amount regularly, but when the time comes to pay the compensation they start giving excuses.