Samyukt Kisan Morcha hold ‘rail roko’ stir across Punjab over MSP issue

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], August 1 (ANI): Farmers across Punjab are holding a four-hour ‘rail roko’ protest from 11 am to 3 pm on Sunday in response to a call given for a nationwide protest by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha(SKM), an umbrella group comprising around 40 farm organisations, primarily demanding the proper implementation of minimum support price (MSP) for crops.

Farmers have blocked the railway track at Vallah in Amritsar, Bathinda and protested at Shambhu toll plaza in Ambala, Panchkula’s Barwala and Kaithal’s Cheeka against the Union government for not fulfilling their demands.

Gurlal Singh, a farmer protesting in Amritsar told ANI today, “When we had held protests in Delhi, the Centre assured us to fulfill our demands but, till now, no one has fulfilled it. We are demanding the implementation of minimum support price (MSP) for crops.”

Passengers are stuck at the railway station in Amritsar amid a rail-roko protests by farmers.

The decision to hold the protest was taken at a state body meeting at the office of the Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) in Ludhiana on July 11.

Earlier Harinder Singh Lakhowal, BKU general secretary and SKM state committee member, had told media persons that the farmers’ bodies would hold district-level conventions from July 18 to 30 to mobilise support for the protest.

The SKM has also announced its intention to hold a protest against the Aam Aadmi Party-led government on August 3 over several issues including the non-payment of sugarcane dues and compensation for cotton crop damaged by whitefly. Bharti Kisan Union (Sidhupur) president Jagjit Singh Dallewal, who is a member of the SKM, said the farmers will block national highways in Majha, Malwa and Doaba regions in the state on that day.

Dallewal also rejected the committee on the minimum support price formed by the Centre and added farmer bodies under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha would stage a one-day protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on August 22.

In November last year, the three farm laws, which have meant unprecedented protests by farmers for over a year, were withdrawn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation.

PM Modi said the laws will be withdrawn in Parliament during the coming winter session. Here’s a look at what these laws, kept in suspension by the Supreme Court, are all about.

These laws are — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act provides for setting up a mechanism allowing the farmers to sell their farm produces outside the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Any licence-holder trader can buy the produce from the farmers at mutually agreed prices. This trade of farm produces will be free of mandi tax imposed by the state governments.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act allows farmers to do contract farming and market their produces freely.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act is an amendment to the existing Essential Commodities Act. This law now frees items such as foodgrains, pulses, edible oils and onion for trade except in extraordinary (read crisis) situations. (ANI)


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