Farmers call for Punjab bandh on September 25 over controversial farm bills

Will burn PM’s effigies on September 20, say farm leaders as protests intensify

Farmers call for Punjab bandh on September 25 over controversial farm bills

Farmer leaders address the press on Saturday. Tribune photo

Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service
Moga, September 19

Farmer organisations in Punjab have called for a complete shutdown of the state on September 25 to protest three controversial farm reform Bills that farmers have criticised as being detrimental to their interests.

Joginder Singh, president of Ugrahan, and Sukhdev Singh Kokr,i general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta)---both part of the 30 organisations that have called the shutdown---said public transport, including trains, and businesses will not be allowed to function on September 25.

Organisations will also burn effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the state on September 20, they said at a press brefing on Saturday.

The leaders also called Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s decision to quit as the minister for food processing industries in the light of intensifying protests a publicity stunt.

Harsimrat Kaur resigned from the union cabinet on Thursday, hours after Lok Sabha passed two of the three controversial bills---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’.

Badal’s critics have wondering why she did not do it when the union cabinet sanctioned three farm ordinances in June. The ordinances became the basis of the three controversial Bills---The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

Farmers across the country have been holding protests against the three bills. The central government claims the Bills will open up the agricultural sector to beyond the Agriculture Produce Market Committees, and will bring down trade barriers.  

Critics however fear that it would reduce the bargaining power of Agriculture Produce Market Committees and will in effect leave them at the mercy of private commissioning agents and traders and not guarantee a fair price.  They also see this as a method to end the MSP system.

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