Bhubaneswar, September 25: Farmers across Odisha joined their counterparts in Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and other states in staging a protest against the passage of the Farm Bills in the Parliament.
Different organisations of the farmers had called for a protest today against three farm Bills passed by Parliament amid the Opposition’s protests.
As many as 31 farmer organizations in Punjab as well as in neighboring Haryana are holding protests at different places.
The protests were joined by farmers, trade union workers, activists and students, while several political parties, including the Congress, extended their support.
Members of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan protested against the bills at the AG Square in Bhubaneswar.
The police detained several protesters while they were trying to enter into the state secretariat.
Meanwhile, members of the Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) tried to gherao the Krushi Bhawan in the city.
Farmers also staged a protest at the Master Canteen Square in Bhubaneswar.
“The Bills passed in the Parliament are against the interests of the farmers. We are protesting against the Bills. The Central government is trying to finish the economy of the country. We strongly oppose the Bills, which were passed in an undemocratic way,” said a protesting farmer.
Passage of the contentious farm bills
The Rajya Sabha on September 20 passed two agriculture-related Bills amid protests by the Opposition.
The Upper House gave the nod to The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.
While giving a historic boost to rural India, three ordinances were promulgated on June 5, 2020 for the benefit of farmers and to transform the agriculture sector.
These ordinances were: The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 to promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade in agriculture produce; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 to engage with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters; and Amendment to the Essential Commodities Act to liberalise regulatory environment for farmers.
MSP has been one of the concerns of many farmers, irrespective of the Centre’s assurance. Many feel farmers will either cease to get the benefit of it or private players may exploit them.
Delhi border protests
In New Delhi, traffic was thrown out of gear at the Chilla border as a group of farmers reached there on their tractors to protest against the farm bills. They were, however, stopped by Delhi police deployed at the spot.
Heavy police deployment has been done on Delhi borders in the wake of a nationwide bandh called by various farmer organizations.
Police have put up barricades in Delhi entry points in the areas bordering Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and checking vehicles entering the national capital.
Paramilitary forces have also been deployed.
Punjab, Haryana in uproar over bills
Cutting across party lines, the day-long statewide protests by farmers evoked a good response in Punjab and Haryana and normal life was disrupted
The activists of several farmer associations were seen asking traders at several places in the Congress-ruled Punjab to keep their shops and business establishments closed to mark the pan-India protest.
Reports of the shutdown of shops and other establishments were received from Punjab’s Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, and other places.
In a show of solidarity, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab announced a joint protest.
Several trains have been suspended since Thursday as farmers began a three-day “rail roko’ campaign as well.
Punjab chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to all political parties to rise above “petty considerations” and come on one platform to fight unitedly against the “treacherous” Bills that would destroy the state’s farmers.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP-led NDA government, announced a statewide chakka jam to mark their protest.
Uttar Pradesh farmers block highways
Farmers protesting against the farmers’ bills passed in parliament earlier this week, blocked the Ayodhya-Lucknow highway for a few hours today.
Farmers have also blocked the Delhi-Meerut highway near Ghaziabad to protest against the bills. Protests have also been reported from many districts in Uttar Pradesh, including Pilibhit, Sambhal, Ghaziabad, Sitapur, Baghpat and Barabanki.
Tejashwi leads tractor march
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav demanded that the Centre shelve the three contentious agriculture-related Bills that have led to agitation by farmers in many states.
He said the protests by farmers were increasing in every state across the country. “They are coming out on the roads to protest against the Bills passed by the Narendra Modi government,” the former deputy chief minister said.
“My party strongly opposes the Bills and demands a rollback. The Modi government has put the agriculture sector in private hands, similar to the railways and civil aviation sectors, in a bid to benefit corporate friends funding the BJP,” said Tejashwi, who is leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly.
Maharashtra, Telangana protest against farm bills
Thousands of peasants took to the streets all over Maharashtra today, raising slogans, carrying banners and posters to protest against what they termed as “the anti-farmers law recently passed by Parliament.
The Left parties and Congress on Friday staged protests in Telangana as part of the nation-wide agitation against contentious farm bills passed by the Parliament.