Hours before three contentious farm sector bills became law after President Ramnath Kovind’s assent, farmer leaders here decided to hold consultations with their counterparts across the country from October 8 at Kurukshetra to evolve a pan-India agitation strategy so as to pressure the Centre to recall the new legislations.
According to a gazette notification, the President gave assent to The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. The Opposition had urged Kovind to return the bills, saying they were passed without following due process.
While the farm agitation continues to rock Punjab, elsewhere it has not found similar resonance. Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (Rajewal Group) Punjab president Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “a meeting was held today in which leaders of farm organisations from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh took part. To make the agitation pan-India, it was decided that on October 8 a marathon meeting will be held at Kurukshetra for two-three days. Two to three representatives of all famers’ organisations from across the country will be invited for the brainstorming seasons.”
Meanwhile, farmers in Punjab squatted on the Amritsar-Delhi railway track on Sunday to wrap up their three-day ‘rail-roko’ agitation.
From October 1, they intend to launch an indefinite ‘rail-roko’ in Punjab. Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, an umbrella group that is leading the agitation, said BJP leaders will not be allowed to enter Punjab villages in protest.
Reaching out to farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the farm sector and farmers are the very basis of Atmanirbhar Bharat, adding the farm bills ensure freedom to sell their produce anywhere at higher rates