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'Rail Ruko' Agitation against Farm Bills 2020 Starts in Punjab

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia
Farm Bill 2020
Farm Bill 2020 Punjab Farmer Protest

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 were passed by the both upper and lower house and now they await the President’s nod to become laws.

Punjab Farmers Organise 'Rail Ruko Abhiyan'

“We have decided to hold a ‘rail roko’ agitation from September 24 to 26 in the state against the farm bills,” Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said last week. The state’s farmers, along with farmers of Haryana and opposition parties across the country, have been in staunch protest against the bills ever since they were slated to be tabled in the Lok Sabha.

Another farmers’ organisation has called for a state-wide ‘bandh’ on September 25.

The farmers who are vehemently opposing the bill believes that this bill is designed to help big corporate houses at the cost of farmers. The opposition parties have also opposed the three bills, calling them "anti-farmers".

Fear of not getting MSP

The issues and fears raised by the protesters include end of ‘minimum support price’ (MSP) regime in due course, irrelevance of state-controlled Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) ‘mandis’, risk of losing out land rights under contract farming rule, reduction in price of farm produce due to market domination by big agri-businesses and exploitation of farmers by big contractors through contract farming provisions.

The protesters worry that the bills will dismantle the current Minimum Support Prince (MSP) system and leave the farmers at the mercy of big corporates.

PM Modi has assured that the “very historic” bills will benefit them as they will take away the power from the hands of middlemen and give them the freedom to sell their produce where they see more profit.

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