LUCKNOW: The first private ‘mandi’ of Uttar Pradesh for procurement of farm produce was inaugurated in Bulandshahr on Friday amid the protest by farmers against the recently passed agrarian reform bills.
The mandi was inaugurated in village Arania Khurd of the district. However, farmers of the area and local village heads protested against the private mandi.
Khurja Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Lavi Tripathi inaugurated the mandi -- Agromart Pvt Ltd -- owned by a Delhi-based rice export company. The company looks forward to establishing similar mandis in Aligarh, Hapur, and Bareilly in the coming years to procure paddy and other produce from western UP farmers.
Claiming that the farmers were happy with the new mandi which would provide them an alternative platform to sell their produce, the SDM said that with no additional fees for selling their produce at the mandi, the farmers would also get seeds and fertilizers at subsidized rates there in future.
As per the sources, over a dozen farmers sold their produce on the opening day of the Agromart mandi. The Mandi officials claimed to have procured paddy at the market rate saying they would ensure the best possible facilities and assistance to farmers in the future.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) chief Naresh Takait, joined the farmers’ agitation in Muzaffarnagar. BKU’s state spokesperson Dharmendra Malik accused the Union government of being more interested in shielding the interest of corporates instead of farmers.
He said that the government’s tall claims over the farm bills were an eyewash and farmers had decided to fight a decisive battle till their issues were addressed suitably.
BKU members blocked the Delhi-Noida border near Sector 14A in protest against the bills. Farmers from different villages gathered and marched to Delhi as part of a nationwide protest but they were stopped on the way by the police.
Farmers, in tractors and cars, reached Noida Gate near Mayur Vihar around 11.45 am. Police personnel were deployed on the Delhi side of the border. On the Noida side of the border, farmers parked several tractors and cars at the entry gate halting vehicular movement from both sides.
Similarly, farmers in other districts including Barabanki, Bahraich, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, and Gorakhpur put up a strong protest by squatting on the high ways and blocking it at various places.
Farmers in Barabanki and other districts also burnt stubble to express their opposition to the farm bills. The student wings of SP and Congress joined the farmers' protest in Prayagraj.