Farmer outfits in Punjab and Haryana on Monday staged “tractor march” to protest against the Centre’s recently promulgated agriculture related Ordinances and demanded their immediate withdrawal.
The Centre had recently introduced the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, which is being opposed by several farmers.
In Haryana, farmers mainly staged protests under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) in Kurukshetra, Karnal, Yamunangar and Fatehabad districts, while in Punjab protests were largely led by the Bharti Kissan Union (Rajewal) and Bharti Kissan Union (Lakhowal). Farmers were seen marching on their tractors, raising slogans against the Ordinances and recent rise in diesel prices. They submitted a memorandum to local authorities addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding revocation of the three Ordinances besides withdrawal of the amendment to the Electricity Act.
“The Centre should immediately withdraw these Ordinances which are anti-farmer. Their implementation will lead to exploitation of farmers at the hands of big corporate houses. The BJP government has given a free hand to private corporate houses to exploit the farmers,” said Gurnam Singh, State Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) president.
“We have also demanded that the Union government should withdraw the amendments to the Electricity Act, which will only harm the agriculture sector and bring further financial distress to farmers.” Mr. Chaduni said commission agents and labourers associated with the grain markets also had participated in the protest.
“If the government doesn’t pay heed to our demands we will be forced to intensify our protests,” he said.
Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) general secretary Harinder Singh said the Centre could not be trusted on its promise to continue the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement. The BJP had earlier backtracked from its promise to implement the Swaminathan Committee report. The Union government was out to ruin Punjab,” he said, pointing out that the Mandi (APMC) system had worked flawlessly for the welfare of the farmers. “The sharp rise in fuel prices especially diesel has increased our worries. Our input cost has risen manifold. The government should immediately bring fuel prices down.”
Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the farm Ordinances were another conspiracy of the BJP-led government against the farmers.
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“..these ordinances have been brought as part of a conspiracy by the Central government whereas farmers are already suffering due to its anti-farmer policies. Crops of several farmers are not being purchased at the MSP. Farmers are not even compensated for crop damage. In Haryana, where the BJP is in power, the crop insurance scheme has also become expensive which will directly hit the farmers. The premium of cotton has been increased to almost two-and-a-half times. Earlier, it was ₹620 per acre which has nowbeen increased to ₹1,650,” she said at a press conference.