Truckers’ body calls for strike in north India from December 8 in solidarity with farmers’ agitation

All-India Motor Transport Congress has warned that they would shut operations if the Central government did not accede to the farmers’ demand to repeal the three farm laws passed in September

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Ashlin Mathew

Backing the ongoing farmers’ agitation in Delhi, the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the apex organisation of truckers, transporters and passenger vehicle operators, has warned that they would shut operations in north India from December 8 if the Central government did not accede to the farmers’ demand to repeal the three farm laws passed in September.

AIMTC said farmers were fighting for their legitimate rights and they are the backbone and lifeline of the nation.

“We have given a call for shutdown of operations from December 8 in northern India. This will affect Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. The government must realise that we are with the farmers. Anyway, the movement of trucks has already been stalled. Almost 60% of the truckers depend on agricultural produce, so if they are in trouble, we will support them,” said Naveen Kumar Gupta, secretary general of AIMTC.

There are at least 35 lakh trucks in northern India.

Gupta said the move would adversely affect the apple farmers in Himachal Pradesh and J&K as the apple season was on. “Apples will get wasted, but this government doesn’t care. They just want to show that they are with farmers when they are not. This is intertwined with our emotions. Why can’t the government listen?” asked Gupta.

In a statement, AIMTC said the association extended its support to farmers from the beginning. “We are again convening a meeting tomorrow and will strategically decide on the future course of action. The government must treat the farmers with dignity,” added Gupta.

All the truck operators of Delhi held a meeting today, where it was decided to extend support to AIMTC’s decision. “We have agreed with the decision of All-India Motor Transport Congress. The truckers and farmers are joined at the hip. We bring their produce to the market. If their livelihood is affected, even our livelihood will be affected. As these farm laws are in favour of corporates, later this will affect us too. Now, it’s an open market, but later it won’t be. It’s a chain. If the root is being killed, the tree won’t grow,” said Parmeet Singh Goldie, president of Delhi Goods Transport Association.

The farmers, hailing mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting for two months against the three farm laws, which were passed in September. The farmers want the government to repeal Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

As a result of these laws, the Minimum Support Price regime will be gone, which the farmers are demanding must remain in place. The farmers’ unions have expressed apprehension that these laws will harm small and marginal farmers and that traditional grain markets would end.

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