The new farm laws, farmers’ agitation, and their plight

On November 5, farmers’ unions in Haryana and Punjab blocked important roads and national highways for four hours. The disruptions for commuters were severe.

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Bipin Bhardwaj

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against the Centre’s farm laws since September. They stopped the movement of goods trains in October before lifting the ‘blockade’. Now they are being paid back by the Centre, which has not allowed the trains to move.

On Thursday, November 5, farmers’ unions in the two states blocked important roads and national highways for four hours. They had also given a call for a Bharat Bandh, which flopped. But disruptions for commuters were severe.

In Mohali people are putting up with prolonged power cuts because several power plants have stopped generating electricity in the absence of coal. The chief minister has been warning of food shortages and fertilizer shortage also but his request for an audience with the President of India was turned down by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Captain Amarinder Singh, who attended a relay fast at the Raj Ghat in New Delhi on Wednesday, posted on his facebook page: We Punjabis are fighting for our farmers and their rights. Our farmers have worked hard day and night in their fields to fill the stomach of the people of the country, even our Punjabis have made a big contribution in the protection of the country. We will continue to serve our country in the same way and will never let India bow down. I hope today our voice has reached the ears of the rulers sitting in Delhi.”

Claiming that the farmers had stopped the movement of only two coal shuttles as part of their agitation, he asked how the state would survive without the supply of coal, agriculture inputs and essential goods. “There will be protests if governments mess up with livelihoods and religion of people. If trouble erupts in Punjab where 75 percent farmers are marginal, national security would be at stake,” he added.

Haryana Government was this week served notice by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to explain why it has been blocking the movement of foodgrains from Uttar Pradesh into the state. If it is now one country and one market, why can’t farmers in UP bring their crops to Haryana and Punjab is the question the court put to the state government.

Farmers from UP have complained that while they are unable to register online in the portal of the Government when they tried to enter Haryana with their harvest, they were stopped by the police and informed that there were instructions not to allow any crop from outside to enter the state.

SAD, a former NDA member, however, continued to blame the Congress. SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal teasingly asked the CM to go on an indefinite fast in front of the Prime Minister’s residence rather than holding a “farcical protest” in Delhi. State BJP president Ashwani Sharma, said in a communication to the Centre, “The common man is reeling under great economic stress and the circumstances being forced on Punjabis by the Congress government (in the state) which is busy sponsoring the agitation in the name of farmers.”

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