Punjab Farmers Intensify Stir Against Agri Reforms, to Organise ‘Rail Roko’ Agitation From Today
Farmers shout slogans as they block a national highway during a protest against agriculture-related bills brought by the central government, in Punjab’s Beas on September 16, 2020. (NARINDER NANU / AFP)
Punjab farmers, along with farmers from Haryana and several opposition parties have been protesting against these farm reforms ever since they were slated to be tabled in the Lok Sabha.
In an intensified stir against the Centre’s agri reforms, farmers bodies in Punjab will organise a three-day ‘rail roko’ agitation starting Thursday.
We have decided to hold a ‘rail roko’ agitation from September 24 to 26 in the state against the farm bills, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher told news agency PTI.
After being cleared in the Lok Sabha, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 were passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday triggering opposition’s protests. Now they await the President’s nod to become laws.
The state farmers, along with farmers from Haryana and several opposition parties have been protesting against these farm reforms ever since they were slated to be tabled in the Lok Sabha. Another farmers’ body has also called for a state-wide ‘bandh’ on September 25, Hindustan Times reported.
Ever since the bills were tabled, farmers have expressed apprehensions that the legislations will pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system and they will be at the mercy of ‘big corporates’. Meanwhile, the Congress-led government in Punjab has described the legislation as a “blatant attack” on the federal structure.
However, the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the farmers that these “very historic” bills will benefit them. These laws will take away power from the middlemen of exploiting farmers while they can directly sell their produce where they see more profit.