Farmers remind govt of promise to double their income, hold lalkar rallies in 5 Punjab districts – chandigarh
Thousands of farmers from 10 organisations under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordinator Committee (AIKSCC) held rallies in five districts of Punjab against three agriculture ordinances and campaigned for the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 on Monday.
The farmers assembled at the Barnala grain market to participate in the lalkar (challenge) rally to protest against what they said were the Centre’s three anti-farmer ordinances introduced amid the Covid-19 pandemic. These were the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance.
Farmer leaders Buta Singh Burjgill, Ruldu Singh Mansa, Jaipal Singh and Baldev Singh Nihalgarh said in a joint statement that the Central and state governments were pursuing and implementing anti-farming policies mandated by the World Trade Organisation.
The government wanted to hand over agriculture to national and international corporates, they alleged.
“The BJP had promised to implement the Swaminathan Commission recommendations during the Parliamentary election campaign in 2014. Also, the Central government promised to double the farmer’s income by 2022. We want to remind the government of these promises,” said Burjgill.
“A large number of farmers are protesting outside Parliament and thousands of farmers held protests in Amritsar, Jalandhar (Phagwara), Barnala, Patiala and Moga districts of Punjab. The Central government has enlisted these ordinances to present on the very first day of the Parliament session. It was just a symbolic rally but we have asked our cadre to prepare for September 16 action when we may block rail or other places,” said Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda).
Accusing the Shiromani Akali Dal of taking “U-turns” and asking its leaders to “stop shedding crocodile tears,” Jagmohan Singh said if the party shared the farmers’ concerns it should withdraw its support to the Central Government and come forward openly to support the farmers’ agitation.
Bridge over Beas blocked
Meanwhile, in their campaign against the ordinances, farmers from Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts laid siege to the Tanda-Sri Hargobindpur road and blocked the bridge over the Beas river.
Led by the Kisan Sangharsh Committee state general secretary Sawinder Singh Chutala, the farmers started their dharna at about 11 am, which continued till late in the evening. However, despite heavy police presence and prohibitory orders in place the agitators were allowed to give speeches.
Chutala said the agitation would be intensified if the Centre did not repeal the ordinances and lower diesel rates.