Protests against Centre’s farm laws are not limited to Punjab and have spread across several states, said V M Singh, national convenor of the All India Kisan Sangrash Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), which is coordinating the farmers’ efforts to oppose the agri Acts.
There are around 250 farm outfits that are a part of the AIKSCC banner.
“Farmers have been on roads for nearly 3 months but the Union government is still acting rigid. However, we want to tell them that they have not come here on a 99-year lease. If you can’t be with farmers of this country, then surely you will be out of power in 2024. I am surprised when our PM says that farmers are not protesting but it is a Congress sponsored protest. It is really hard to believe his statement. Is Congress’s network so wide that they are making farmers of over 20 states protest and the party which won with a record majority is not able to do anything except for putting blames,” said the AIKSCC national convenor.
Singh is also part of the 5-member coordination committee formed for nationwide Chakka Jam on November 5 and Delhi Chalo protest on November 26 and 27.
He added, “If the three farm laws are so much in favour of farmers, why is BJP not able to make us understand the same? If they are so good for us, they would have made us happy. However, they are imposing these laws on us with a ‘danda’ and a whip, but sometimes the whip goes back and it is going back this time…. We expect the government to listen to us and not to dictate their terms to us, Prime Minister often says that he is the chowkidaar and wants to serve the country as a chowkidaar. But we don’t need a chowkidaar to work like this, if you can’t listen to us and can’t work as the masses want, we must change the chowkidaar.”
Elaborating on what the farmers’ fear, he said: “Farmers have a fear that their lands will not be their own. It is a fact that 1 lakh acre of land will be cultivated by corporates with highly mechanised machines using a handful of persons while as of now 1 lakh acre is being cultivated by 40,000 families. What will they achieve by making crores of families idle after enforcing these laws. Farmers cannot go to court and what is the guarantee that SDM and DC will listen to farmers and not the corporates? MSP surety is not being given in the laws, hence we have no trust on these laws and the government is not able to clear any of our doubts as they are not ready to face us.”
Singh said farmers hope that their forthcoming nationawide protests will shake the government and good sense will prevail. “There is no harm if the government talks to people and listens to our genuine demands. There is no harm in listening to voices of masses and even agreeing to their valid points. Government should not have an ego clashes with its voters.”
Talking about the ordinance of controlling air pollution in NCR and adjoining areas, Singh said, “Why does stubble burning fumes travel from Punjab, Haryana and stop in Delhi only and don’t move ahead? Air pollution is being linked with stubble burning and the other reasons of air pollution are being ignored. Now they have introduced an ordinance covering stubble burning as well. Innocent farmers are being troubled rather than finding ways of stubble burning solutions.”
No let-up in Punjab protests
Meanwhile, protests continued for another day at private petrol pumps, toll plazas , storage houses of corporates and even outside houses of BJP leaders. Farmer unions are also sitting on the rail track at Jandiala Guru. Apart from this, they are sitting on the rail track which supplies coal to private thermal plants in Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura. BKU(Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said, “We have no issues if thermal plants of Punjab government run on full capacity but we are sitting on the internal supply lines tracks so that coal supplies cannot enter in private thermals. They have nothing to do with the main railway lines and they can run as normal. Our fight is with corporate houses who are all set to eat our agriculture and it will continue.”
Goods trains stay suspended
On Friday, Northern Railways clarified that they have not yet started any goods trains services in Punjab.
Sukhwinder Singh, additional divisional railway manager, Ferozepur division, said,”It is the same status quo. We don’t have any orders to run the trains… but we are ready for it as soon as the issue is sorted out.”
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