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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Farmers at Delhi-Ghazipur border to intensify stir if demands not met

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New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) Farmers protesting at Delhi-Ghazipur border against the three contentious agricultural laws on Friday warned that they will amplify the protest by blocking more roads and choking supply of food products to the national capital if another round of discussion between them and the central government fails to yield results on Saturday.

On Thursday, the fourth round of talks between the Union government and farmers’ representatives at Vigyan Bhawan did not reach any conclusion, but the government has softened its stance on some demands of the farmers. Farmers have, however, refused to stop protests till the three farm laws are repealed. Another round of discussion is slated for Saturday at 2 p.m.

Rakesh Tikait, Spokesperson of Bharat Kisan Union, which is spearheading the protest at the border point, told IANS, “Farmers want the government to take back the laws and make a fresh draft. Currently, it is for the corporates. The law should be for the farmers and they must be consulted. Either the government will agree to our requests tomorrow or we will keep protesting. More farmers are ready to come here.”

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Another senior member of the union, on condition of anonymity, said that if the demands are not met, farmers will stay put to even witness the January 26 parade and run their tractors on the roads of the national capital.

President of Tarai Kisan Sangathan Tejinder Singh Virk said resonated the same sentiment, “If the government does not accept our demands tomorrow, we will choke the supply of milk, vegetables and fruits going to the national capital. Blocking the roads was a mere first step. We will decide on the next step tomorrow.”

The farmers have been sitting on protest for the last nine days at the Delhi-Haryana and Delhi-Uttar Pradesh borders. Thousands of farmers have been camping at the Singhu border, while several other groups have blocked entry at the Delhi-Haryana border in Tikri, the Delhi-UP Ghazipur border and the Delhi-UP Chilla border.

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The agitated farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws passed by the Parliament earlier this year and have expressed apprehension that they would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate houses.

The new farm laws are – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation); The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance; and the Farm Services and The Essential Commodities (Amendment).

The government has maintained that the new laws will provide farmers with better opportunities. It has also accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers.

–IANS

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