Chandigarh, Sep 9 (PTI) Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Gurnam Singh has said his outfit, along with some other farmers' organisations, will hold a rally in Kurukshetra on Thursday to protest the Centre's three “anti-farmer” ordinances.
The protest rally will be held at at Pipli in Kurukshetra against the three farm-related ordinances of the central government, Singh said.
The state government has asked the BKU leader not to go ahead with the rally in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The Kurukshetra administration had also pasted a letter outside Singh's residence warning him not to hold the protest rally amid the pandemic.
However, Singh, who is BKU's Haryana unit president, said the outfit will organise the protest rally.
“We will hold the rally in a peaceful manner and take every precaution in view of the pandemic. The voice of farmers has to be raised, we want the Centre to withdraw these anti-farmer ordinances, which will destroy the peasants and leave them at the mercy of market forces,” Singh said.
Farmers in Haryana and Punjab had earlier protested demanding a rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Wednesday announced his complete support to the farmers' agitation against the three agricultural ordinances, which the Congress leader claimed “seek to remove protection given to the farmers”.
Hooda, who is Leader of the Opposition in Haryana, in a statement here claimed not only the farmers, but labourers, trade agents and small traders will also be impacted by the ordinances. “These ordinances are against the interests of farmers. If the government wants to implement them, then it should ensure that no purchases are made below MSP. The government could bring in a fourth ordinance separately to provide a clear provision that if any agency buys the crop of the farmer below the MSP, then legal action will be taken against it,” Hooda said in a statement. Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said these ordinances will not only 'destroy' farmers, but will also lead a blow to the mandi system and impact farm labourers and 'Arhitiyas' or commission agents as well.
'On the eve of this rally, the Khattar government showed its anti-farmer face, a notice was pasted outside the house of BKU leader Gurnam Singh,' said Surjewala, adding that many leaders were being rounded up a day before the event.
'If the government will try to suppress the voice of farmers, then it will have to face serious consequences,' he warned.
However, Agriculture Minister J P Dalal on Wednesday said the state government is committed to provide Minimum Support Price for all the crops to the of the farmers of Haryana.
Dalal said some people with vested interests were trying to mislead the farmers about the ordinances, which he described as “farmer-friendly” and assured that the MSP system was here to stay.
Dalal said that a meeting was held between BKU leader Gurnam Singh and senior officers of the Agriculture department on Tuesday evening in which it was clarified that the interests of farmers will be safeguarded at all costs.
The minister said that he expects that the BKU will not go ahead with the proposed rally.
While making an appeal to the farmers to postpone the rally, Dalal said, “Haryana Government is farmer-friendly and has consistently been taking decisions keeping in view peasants' interests, whether be it giving compensation, or developing new Mandis.” He said the three ordinances give liberty to farmers to sell their crop to a private agency at a price higher than the MSP.
The minister clarified that government mandis will not be closed and procurement of crops on the MSP will continue.
He said Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has already given directions to the officers concerned to draft policy to ensure that the trade inside the mandis does not get hampered due to procurement done outside.
Dalal said a huge amount of money was being spent for developing the infrastructure of mandis in the state. However, Hooda said farmers claim that “the ordinances are an attempt to abolish the mandi and MSP system”.
“Despite repeated protests, the government wants to impose these ordinances in a dictatorial manner, and therefore the farmers are forced to take to the streets. The government wants to suppress their voice by showing fear of corona,” he added.
Hooda said farmers have been hit the hardest by the “misrule of the BJP as they are neither getting MSP, nor timely payment or compensation for crop insurance scheme”. “The government wants to hand over the fate of farmers to the capitalists through these ordinances. But, the Congress will not let this happen. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the farmers and their voice will be raised at all forums,” he said. PTI SUN VSD AD