Farmers hold protests across Punjab, Haryana over delay in purchasing paddy

BKU pitches tents in front of CM Khattar's Karnal residence; lifts dharna after he announces paddy procurement

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/Karnal/Ambala, October 2

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday held protests at many places against postponing paddy procurement, prompting both states to hasten the procurement process.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Friday had given a call for holding protests outside the residences of legislators in both states to register their protest over the delay in purchasing paddy.

As the pressure mounted, both Punjab and Haryana announced paddy procurement from Sunday.    

Paddy procurement to begin in Haryana from Sunday, says CM Khattar

Farmers from the Bharatiya Kisan Union pitched tents in front of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's residence in Karnal's Prem Nagar and later hoisted BKU's flag on the wall that Khattar shares with his neighbour. They lifted the dharna after Haryana announced procurement from Sunday.

A large number of farmers assembled in Karnal's grain market against the postponing of paddy procurement.

In Ambala City, farmers marched towards the residences of BJP MLA Aseem Goel with their paddy-laden tractor-trollies. A heavy police force was deployed and barricades installed to stop farmers in Ambala City.

The protests began in response to the Centre's decision to postpone procurement of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival is beyond permissible limits owing to recent heavy rains.

The procurement operation is undertaken by the central government's nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies.

Paddy procurement usually commences from October 1.

Meanwhile, Haryana minister Anil Vij on Saturday said the farmers' agitation against the Centre's new laws is getting “violent day by the day”.

“Farmers' agitation is getting violent day by day. Violent movement in the country of Mahatma Gandhi cannot be allowed….,” said Vij in a tweet.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to start the purchase of paddy.

“The farmers of Punjab are upset, the central government has postponed the purchase of paddy for 10 days, the farmer is standing outside the mandis carrying lakhs of quintals of paddy on his tractor,” said Kejriwal in a tweet.

In Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga and staged protests over delay in the purchase of paddy crop.

Police personnel were deployed in strength to maintain law and order, said officials.

Farmers expressed apprehension that they would suffer if their crop is not purchased at the grain markets.

Paddy crop, though in small quantity, has started arriving in mandis, especially in border areas of Punjab, farmers said .

They questioned where the farmers, who have brought their crop at mandis, will go if their produce is not purchased.

Some fear that they would be forced to sell their crop below the minimum support price (MSP) to private traders.

A farmer in Haryana's Karnal said his paddy crop would get damaged by October 11 when the Centre would start procuring it.

At some places, farmers even handed over memorandum to the Deputy Commissioners demanding commencement of paddy purchase.

In Haryana's Ambala, police put up barricades to prevent farmers from laying siege to the residence of BJP legislator Aseem Goel.

A fire-fighting vehicle and a water cannon vehicle were also deployed outside the residence of the MLA.

Tight security arrangement has been made outside the residence of minister Vij at Ambala Cantonment, said officials. 

Also read

Farmers’ agitation getting violent, says Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij

Sukhjinder Randhawa directs SSPs to strictly check illegal rice/paddy coming into Punjab from other states

Farmers sit on a dharna in Karnal. Tribune photo: Sayeed Ahmed

While in Shahbad in Kurukshetra, farmers held a protest in front of JJP MLA Ramkaran Kala’s house.

Another group of farmers reached near the residence of Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Sandeep Singh to hold a demonstration.

In Kurukshetra, farmers reached near the residence of BJP Thanesar MLA Subhash Sudha to hold a demonstration.

In Yamunanagar, farmers reached near the residence of Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar in Jagadhri to hold a demonstration.

— With agencies

Tribune Shorts

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