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Agriculture laws | Farmers plan national road blockade on November 5

Farmers raise slogans during a protest over new farm laws, at Devi Dass Pura village in Amritsar, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Over 500 farmers groups plan to block roads across the country on November 5, as part of an all-India “chakka jam”, the next step in their protests against the three controversial farm reform laws passed by Parliament last month.

The groups, which include several major federations such as the Bharatiya Kisan Union and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, are also planning a march to the national capital on November 26 and 27, if their demands to repeal the laws are not accepted. They are also opposing the Electricity Bill 2020, which could affect the power subsidy given to farmers. Some leaders estimated that more than 40,000 farmers from Punjab alone could take part in the Delhi Chalo protest.

Also read: Ground Zero | Farm Bills leave farmers, commission agents and workers worried

The farmers groups also slammed the Centre’s ban on the movement of goods trains to Punjab, terming it as ‘blackmail’ of the people. The Railway Ministry had refused to run goods trains unless the State ensured that the tracks were completely cleared of protesting farmers who are still preventing some passenger trains from running.

“We have mostly ended our rail roko five days ago itself on October 22. There are still some protesters near Amritsar, blocking passenger trains and trains running to some private power plants,” said Darshan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Union, which is one of the leaders of the Punjab protests.

“But without the goods trains, there is a shortage of essential items in Punjab, and farmers also find it difficult to get fertilizers and other inputs. That is why we stopped the rail roko. But the BJP is intent on giving a bad name to the protesters, and so it is carrying out this blackmail of the people and farmers of Punjab.”

Also read: Farmers in Punjab and Haryana fear end of MSP regime

After a meeting at Gurudwara Rakabganj in the capital on Tuesday, it was decided that the November protests would be coordinated under the leadership of a committee including AIKSCC convenor VM Singh, BKU-Ekta president Balbir Singh Rajewal, BKU’s Haryana chief Gurnam Singh, former Maharashtra MP and Swabhimani Paksha head Raju Shetti and Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav.

Farmers leaders were keen to emphasise the national nature of the struggle, as opposed to the popular perception that it is limited to a few northern States. “This will be an all-India protest. There are ongoing protests in Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, but the media is focussing only on Punjab and Haryana. We will show that the farmers of India are united against these laws,” said Sunilam, convenor of the National Alliance of People’s Movements, which is also an AIKSCC constituent.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 10:34:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/farm-laws-farmers-plan-national-road-blockade-on-nov-5/article32956741.ece

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