A view of a crowded highway as farmers protest against new farm laws at a state border in Shahjahanpur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, near New Delhi.(REUTERS)
A view of a crowded highway as farmers protest against new farm laws at a state border in Shahjahanpur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, near New Delhi.(REUTERS)

Farmers protest highlights: Mega waterproof tent installed at Singhu border as stir continues amid rain

The tractor march, now scheduled to be held on January 7, is a glimpse of how farmers are planning to intensify their protest after the government on January 4 refused to repeal the laws.
By hindustantimes.com | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2021 12:02 AM IST

Thousands of farmers protesting near Delhi against the Centre’s three farm laws have decided to postpone their tractor march by a day as sporadic rain hampered their plans to stage a protest. The tractor march, now scheduled to be held on January 7, is a glimpse of how farmers are planning to intensify their protest after the government on January 4 refused to repeal the laws.

“We will take out tractor march at four borders of Delhi including Eastern and Western peripheral. This will be a trailer for what lies ahead on January 26. As you know that the government has held seven formal rounds of talks with the farmers on January 4,” Swaraj India’s Yogendra Yadav, who has joined the protests, said.

“Seven months have passed when the ordinance was brought and later made into law. We are demanding the repeal of these laws. The only option left is to intensify our protest,” he added.

Why are the farmers protesting?

Through one of the largest strikes in decades witnessed by India, the farmers are demanding the repeal of the three contentious laws. The laws essentially change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a network of decades-old, government marketplaces, allowing traders to stockpile essential commodities for future sales and laying down a national framework for contract farming.

These laws are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

The farmers claim these laws will benefit big corporate houses. The government has, however, tried to allay these fears and even said that it is ready to discuss changes to the law. The government has made it clear that it won’t scrap these laws.

Here are the highlights:

Mega waterproof tent installed at Singhu border as stir continues amid rain

Amid the rainfall reported in the national capital and neighbouring regions, protesters installed a mega tent at centre stage where their leaders address protesters every day. The 60 feet x 280 feet dimension waterproof tent covers the sitting area in front of the main stage.

Discussions with farmers opportunity to explain them benefits of laws: Goyal

Union minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that he considers the ongoing discussions with farmers as an opportunity to explain them the benefits of the new farm laws against which they have been protesting. “For example, when I go along with Agriculture Minister Tomar for discussions with farmer unions, should I see that as a problem for myself or as an opportunity that I am getting,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders take out tractor rally in CM’s home district

The Madhya Pradesh Congress leaders had taken out a tractor rally in chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s home district of Sehore to protest against the farm laws.

 

Will approach SC regarding farm laws: Punjab CM

Punjab chief minister captain Amarinder Singh said that he would approach the Supreme Court regarding the farm laws since he felt that they were ‘anti-farmer bills’.

 

Solution must be found at PM level: Punjab CM

Punjab CM captain Amarinder Singh said that the solution to the protests must come from the Prime Minister’s level. He said that the PM should sit with his ministers and come up with a solution.

 

Bring peace to state, bring farmers home, repeal laws: Amarinder Singh

Punjab CM captain Amarinder Singh said that the Centre should bring peace to the state and get the farmers back home by repealing the laws. He said that new laws could be formulated later after speaking with farmers’ committees but the currently laws must be repealed since the farmers were demanding it.

 

No law has that sanctity which can’t be touched: Amarinder Singh

Punjab CM captain Amarinder SIngh said that no law had the sanctity which can’t be touched, citing the several constitutional amendments since its introduction.

 

Punjab CM expresses his sympathy towards protesting farmers

Punjab CM captain Amarinder Singh said that it was the farmers’ right to protest and that the protesting farmers, old men and women had ‘101%’ of his sympathy. He said that the farmers were sacrificing their lives as well.

 

Duty of the government to respond to people of the country: Punjab CM

Punjab chief minister captain Amarinder Singh urged the Centre to heed the demands of the protesting farmers and nor remain unresponsive. Singh said that the farmers had made their point clear and the Centre should repeal the laws.

 

Farmers construct brick floor at Tikri border as rains flood tents

The protesting farmers have constructed a brick floor using cement, gravel and bricks at the Tikri border as reported by news agency ANI. “Our tents were flooded with water due to rains, we had to sit throughout the night. We have used bricks & cement to build the floor & plan to construct more in coming days,” a protester said.

 

Committed to the welfare of farmers: Narendra Singh Tomar

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that the government was committed to the welfare of the farmers. He said that he met with both supportive and protesting farmers and urged the latter to think about the welfare of farmers and arrive at a solution.

Farmers make their protest waterproof at Singhu border

Farmers at Singhu border launched a massive exercise on Tuesday to cover all the tents with waterproof plastic sheets following rains in the city. Large bamboo sticks and iron pipes were brought to the border with hundreds of waterproof tarpaulin sheets to cover the tents. Farmers said a mega tent is also being set up at the centre stage from where the leaders address the protesters every day.

Delhi’s borders with Haryana, UP remain partly closed

The National Capital’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh continued to remain closed at several points on Wednesday due to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Delhi’s borders with Uttar Pradesh at Chilla and Ghazipur have remained closed for those coming from Noida and Ghaziabad while the opposite carriageway remains open.

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