CHANDIGARH: Fearing a discontinuation of the minimum support price (MSP) regime, farmers from Punjab and Haryana on Monday staged a huge protest against recent ordinances passed by the Centre related to agriculture sector as well as against diesel price hike.
Accusing the Centre of being ‘anti-farmer’, the protesters, who kept hundreds of tractors parked on the highway for several hours, alleged that the government wanted to allow big corporate houses to purchase the produce at their own prices. They demanded that ordinances be withdrawn and threatened to intensify the agitation if the government failed to do so.
The ‘tractor protest’ of the farmers was against three ordinances promulgated by the Centre — 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.
Talking to this newspaper, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), Punjab, president, Balbir Singh Rajewal said that these three legislations are not in the interest of the farming community. “These corporate companies which will procure the crops will exploit the farmers. Also, the grain market where the farmers at present sell their crops at MSP will close down after one or two years,” he claimed.
“We also oppose the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 as it may adversely hit free power to different sections of society, including farmers. The government should also roll back the diesel price hike,” he added.
“We today submitted memorandums to district authorities in both Punjab and Haryana,” said Rajewal.
Onkar Singh, general secretary of BKU (Rajewal), said the protests were held at several places including Nabha, Khamano, Faridkot and Ferozepur.
The protests were held came despite Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s appeal to farmers’ organisations to postpone them because of the coronavirus restrictions. However, the farmers parked their tractors on the side of the roads for two-three hours as a mark of protest.
The CM said these ordinances were completely against India’s federal structure and were in line with the recommendations of the Shanta Kumar Committee, which had suggested dismantling the MSP structure.