Farm bills

Angry farmers lay siege to highways

Protest at Badal village | Start six-day agitation in CM’s hometown

Angry farmers lay siege to highways

Show of strength: Farmers block the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway near Ropar.

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Bathinda/Patiala, September 15

Farmers across Punjab today upped the ante against the farm Bills presented by the Central Government in Parliament and blocked the Bathinda-Amritsar National Highway, the national highway to Delhi at Rajpura and Khanna and state highways at several places.

Farmers vowed to make “any sacrifice” to stop the controversial Bills, which allegedly threaten the MSP regime, from being implemented.

Harinder Singh Lakhowal, General Secretary, BKU (lakhowal)

‘There’s no looking back now’

The Centre is forcing the farmers to become the slaves of multinational companies… let’s unite and speak up, once and for all. There’s no looking back for us now.

In Bathinda district, agitating farmers blocked the Bathinda-Amritsar National Highway (NH-54) and demanded that the Bills be withdrawn immediately.

Farmers under the aegis of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) took out a march from Ghudda to Badal village and laid siege to the residence of Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

Kaka Singh Kotra, secretary, BKU (Sidhupur), feared that after the implementation of these Bills, the minimum support price and assured market systems would be dismantled, and farmers would be at the “mercy” of big corporates. Lashing out at the Centre for it’s “anti-farmer” decisions, the BKU (Lakhowal) claimed that they blocked roads at 35 points in the state against the ordinances.

Farmers block the Bathinda-Amritsar National Highway in Bathinda on Tuesday. 

Bhagwant Mann, AAP MP

Akalis must vote against Bills: AAP

The anti-farmer Bills are a step towards privatising the farming industry. The Bills will give a free hand to the private players. If the Shiromani Akali Dal really wants to support farmers’ rights, then it must vote against the Bills.

In Patiala too, the anger against the Bills spilt on to roads, with over 5,000 farmers raising slogans against the state government and the Centre for their “anti-farmer decisions” in the recent past. Members of the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan), along with their family members, started their six-day agitation against the state government.

Senior farmer leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan said they stood with the farmers and not with any political outfit. He said the farmers would continue their protests till the Central Government rolled back the new Bills.

“The Capt Amarinder Singh government had promised to wipe out drug, mining and liquor mafias and waive farm loans, but it has failed to implement any of its pre-poll promises,” he said. Ugrahan added that the Badal clan too had also failed the farmers by not opposing the new ordinances, despite protests by the farming community.

All Covid-19 related guidelines went for a toss as thousands gathered at the PUDA ground and raised slogans throughout the day. Food for was prepared at a makeshift kitchen set up at the venue.

Traffic was also disrupted in Khanna, Khamano and Neelon as farmers blocked the highways. Traffic from Doraha-Neelon had to be diverted via Bija-Samrala routes and that of Ludhiana-Patiala via Payal-Malerkotla routes. The BKU (Lakhowal) claimed farmers halted the traffic on 25 highways with the support of 11 farmer organisations.

Meanwhile, several farmer organisations under the aegis of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Committee, are meeting in Ludhiana on Wednesday to chart their plan of protest against the farm Bills.

Earlier, the Centre had tabled the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament. The last one was passed by the Lok Sabha today.

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