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Published On: Thu, Sep 24th, 2020

Farm Bills: Several trains suspended as Punjab farmers begin ‘rail roko’ campaign

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Patiala: Members of various farmer organizations block a railway track during a protest against the central government over agriculture related ordinances, at Nabha in Patiala, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI24-09-2020_000053B)

CHANDIGRAH/NEW DELHI :Several trains were suspended on Thursday as farmers began a three-day ‘rail roko’ campaign against the Farm Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Meanwhile, Several trains were suspended on Thursday as farmers began a three-day `rail roko` campaign against the recently passed Farm Bills. The Ferozepur Railway division decided to suspend the operation of special trains till September 26 in view of the safety of passengers, a rail official told .
Activists of the Bhaartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) staged a sit-in protest on rail tracks in Barnala and Sangrur towns. In a first-of-its-kind show of solidarity, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab cutting across party lines on Wednesday announced a joint statewide protest to be held on Friday.
The organisations have given a call for complete ‘Punjab bandh’. They have also chalked out a strategy for post-September 25 protests.
As many as two dozen farmer organisations, including Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), All India Farmers Union (AIFU), All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), and All India Kisan Mahasangh (AIKM), have come together for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Friday (September 25) to protest against farm Bills passed by Parliament amid massive protests from 18 political parties.
According to reports, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab and Haryana are already on protest and they want to convey their concerns to the government on Friday through the bandh call.

Farmers` unions have requested farmers to come out in open to oppose the bills as BKU has reportedly said that “On September 25 there will be farmers` curfew, blockade and till purchase of produce as per MSP is guaranteed in the law the agitation will go on.” Rakesh Tikait of the BKU has appealed its members to come out in large numbers.

The farmers have also received support from 18 political parties including the Congress which has governments in four states, TMC in West Bengal, Left in Kerala, AAP in Delhi, TRS in Telangana. Odisha’s ruling party BJD, however, demanded the Bills be sent to a select committee.
Meanwhile, In Chandigarh, the Punjab Youth Congress organised a statewide `8 Vaje 8 Minute Mashal March` on September 24 to support the Punjab bandh call of farmers agitating against the “anti-farmers” bill passed by the Modi government.
In a press statement, Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) president Brinder Singh Dhillon said that the PYC extends full support to the farmers’ organisations staging statewide dharnas against the bills.
Notably, 31 farmer organisations in Punjab cutting across party lines on Wednesday announced a joint statewide protest to be held on Friday. These organisations have given a call for a complete `Punjab bandh` on September 25.

Earlier on September 20, the Rajya Sabha passed 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 amid protest from Opposition parties.
The Centre, however, stated that these bills will help small and marginal farms by allowing them to sell produce outside mandis and sign agreements with agri-business firms; and doing away with stock-holding limits on key commodities.

The farmers` unions have reportedly stated that the problem with the Bills goes beyond MSP to the whole issue of phasing out the `mandis`. The farmers are far more vulnerable to exploitation outside the `mandi` system and they are producers, not agri-businesses, the unions have said.
(Bureau Reports with Agency Inputs ).



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