Punjab farmers to continue with rail blockades till October 19 when special assembly session called
A day after boycotting Union agriculture ministry’s talks in the absence of minister Narendra Singh Tomar, farmer representatives meet in Chandigarh to decide on course of action.Updated: Oct 15, 2020, 12:29 IST
Farmers will continue their rail blockades in Punjab till October 19 when the assembly meets for a special session to introduce a state law and counter the Centre’s farm laws.
“We will wait until October 19 to lift our protests and ‘rail rokos’ as we want to make sure that the legislation enacted by the state government actually benefits farmers,” said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, the general secretary of BKU (Dakounda), one of the 30 farmer organisations protesting against the Centre’s new laws that aim to liberalise agriculture.
A day after their seven representatives boycotted a meeting called by the Union agriculture ministry in Delhi, members of all 30 farmer outfits are meeting in Chandigarh on Thursday to discuss the course of action.
They are expected to scale up protests against the three farm laws passed in Parliament last month.
NO EMERGENCY DUE TO RAIL BLOCKADES: FARMERS
Patiala denied any “emergency-like situation” arising due to the rail blockades in the state since September 24.
“The state government’s fears that the shortage of coal due to the disruption of supply in view of the rail blockades will impact power generation, and may lead to cuts, is unfounded. There is lots of power tied up from central sector plants,” Patiala said, adding that the state already has 70% of the total stocks of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and urea needed for rabi sowing.
The farmers have also gheraoed business establishments in the state owned by corporate houses to protest the farm laws, which they believe will benefit big business houses.
On Wednesday, the farmer representatives walked out of a meeting with the Union agriculture secretary, saying a minister who could decide on their demands should have been present. “We requested for a minister-level functionary having decision-making powers to hold talks but the central government acted on the contrary, due to which we took the drastic step (of walking out),” Patiala said.