Bharat bandh today: Nationwide farmers' protest. What's open, what's closed? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Bharat bandh today: Nationwide farmers' protest. Will banks, offices, schools remain closed?

Feb 16, 2024 05:17 AM IST

Bharat Bandh today even as hundreds of farmers marching from Punjab have been stopped at the state's border with Haryana near Ambala.

Bharat bandh today, brace yourself.

Bharat bandh today: Farmers gather during a protest march to New Delhi to demand minimum crop prices, near the Haryana-Punjab border at Shambhu in Patiala district.(AFP)
Bharat bandh today: Farmers gather during a protest march to New Delhi to demand minimum crop prices, near the Haryana-Punjab border at Shambhu in Patiala district.(AFP)

Several farmers' unions, including the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), have called for a Gramin Bharat Bandh or nationwide strike on Friday, February 16, to press for their demands before the Centre. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha urged all like-minded farmers' organisations to unite and take part in the February 16 Gramin Bharat Bandh called by the central trade unions.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

Follow- Farmers Protest LIVE Updates

The Bharat bandh call comes even as hundreds of farmers marching from Punjab have been stopped at the state's border with Haryana near Ambala, about 200 kilometres away from Delhi. Haryana security forces have used tear gas on them to try and disperse them. A Delhi Police source said they are determined to not let the protesters enter the national capital should they advance.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non-political) has urged all like-minded farmer organisations to unite and take part in the Bharat bandh. The day-long protest will begin from 6am to 4pm.

ALSO READ- Farmers protest: How does Swaminathan formula differ from current MSP system?

Gramin Bharat Bandh: What's likely to get impacted?

Transportation, agricultural activities, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) rural works, private offices, village shops, and rural industrial and service sector institutions are expected to remain closed due to farmer unions' nationwide strike on Friday, February 16.

Some reports claimed that emergency services such as ambulance operations, newspaper distribution, marriage, medical shops, students going for board exams, etc., are unlikely to be affected during the strike.

What are farmers demanding?

Farmers are back on the streets of Punjab and Haryana with their demand for a law guaranteeing a Minimum Support Price or MSP for their produce.

The farmers also want to strengthen the MGNREGS, reinstate the old pension scheme, and ensure pension and social security for all workers in both formal and informal sectors.

The SKM has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a MSP for crops based on the Swaminathan formula of C2 50 (input cost of capital 50 per cent), legal guarantee of procurement, debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff and no smart metres.

They also demanded free 300 units of power for farming for domestic use and shops, comprehensive crop insurance, and a hike in pensions to 10,000 per month among others.

What happened to govt-appointed panel on MSP formed after 2021 farmers' protest?

Emergency services such as ambulance operations, marriage, medical shops, school, etc., will not be affected during the Bharat Bandh on Friday.

ALSO READ- ‘Cannot treat farmers like criminals’: Bharat Ratna awardee MS Swaminathan's daughter

Public intellectuals support farmers

A number of public intellectuals and artists issued a joint statement on Wednesday in support of the joint call by the workers and farmers for a sectoral industrial strike and Grameen Bharat Bandh on February 16.

A total of 34 people signed the joint statement, which appeals to people from all walks of life "to extend all support to this momentous action" of the farmers and the workers.

Prabhat Patnaik, economist; Irfan Habib, historian; Nasir Tyabji, economic historian; Anil Chandra, cultural activist; and P Sainath, journalist, are some of the people who signed the statement.

"The Central Trade Unions (CTUs) and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) have given a united call for an Industrial/Sectoral Strike and Grameen Bharat Bandh on 16 February. They have joined forces to launch united and coordinated struggles and bring together all sections of the labouring classes who face the severest brunt of the attack by the BJP-led government's pro-corporate, anti-people policies," the statement read.

The statement claimed that the farmers and workers have joined hands to create a far more powerful force to challenge the government's ever-more aggressive offensive on their lives and livelihoods and its poisonous communal propaganda to disrupt any united struggle. This force will gain increasing momentum as it takes its campaign to the farthest corners of the country, the statement said.

'Dilli Chalo' protest

Farmers from Punjab are camping at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders of Punjab and Haryana seeking to march towards Delhi to press the Centre to accept their demands.

The Delhi Police has placed orders for more than 30,000 tear gas shells, an official said, as the force prepares to prevent Punjab farmers from entering the national capital under their 'Dilli Chalo' protest.

2020 farmers' protest

During their protest in 2020, farmers from different states, mainly Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had staged a sit-in at the Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders. They sat there from August 2020 to December 2021.

Police had to rush logistics in 2020 to check the entry of the farmers moving in a procession of tractors.

Discover the complete story of India's general elections on our exclusive Elections Product! Access all the content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Current Updates on India News, Election 2024 News Live, Election 2024 along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Follow the latest breaking news and developments from India and around the world with Hindustan Times' newsdesk. From politics and policies to the economy and the environment, from local issues to national events and global affairs, we've got you covered.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, April 12, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On