Amid raging protests by farmers spiralling across Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district, state Agriculture Minister Gauri Shankar Bisen on 10 June categorically refused to provide an y relief, saying the government has already been providing interest-free loans and hence there's no need for a waiver.
"There is no chance of a loan waiver because when I became the minister in 2008, I promised to provide loans at three percent. And next year we provided loans at one percent interest and thereafter loans were distributed at zero percent. When we did not impose any interests on loan, how can it be waived off? I am never in favour of complete loan waiver. Not then, not now," Bisen told ANI.
He further said that the farming sector under the leadership of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been growing well.
"With the support of farmers, our government achieved 20 percent growth rate in the agriculture sector and the same has been maintained for the last five years," Bisen added.
The Minister accused the Congress Party for using the farmers' agitation for political gains.
"The farmers of the state are being misguided by the Congress Party. They are trying to add fuel to the fire. The party is using this agitation for their political gain," he said.
Meanwhile, Chouhan has begun an indefinite hunger strike "for peace" at the Dussera Maidan to restore the prevailing tense situation.
On 8 June, two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), comprising around 100 men, were deployed in violence-hit Mandsaur district.
Farmers in Madhya Pradesh are demanding better prices for their produce and also a waiver on loan repayments.
However the protest turned violent after five farmers were killed on June 6 in a police firing in Mandsaur.
The violent protest has later spread to neighbouring districts of Neemuch, Indore, Khargone, Ujjain, Shahjanhanpur, Sehore, Raisen and Harda in the last few days.