Farmers defer Jan 6 tractor march by a day over poor weather forecast, to intensify stir

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New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) Farmers protesting against the new Central agriculture laws Tuesday deferred their proposed tractor march from January 6 to January 7 due to a bad weather forecast, even as they asserted they will intensify their stir in the coming days.

Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border here, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav said 'it has been seven months' since the new laws came into force and the government has held seven round of talks with farmers since then, but it has not listened to 'seven words' of farmers which are: 'we want repeal of the farm laws'.

Union leaders said thousands of farmers will take out the tractor march from all protest sites -- Singhu, Tikri, Ghazipur and Shahjahanpur (Haryana-Rajasthan border) -- the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) on January 7.

Yadav said the decision to defer the march was taken over a forecast of bad weather conditions on Wednesday.

The national capital has been receiving intermittent rains for the past three days.

The unions said the agitation against the three agriculture laws will be intensified in the coming days.

Talking about their other proposed tractor march to Delhi, which is scheduled on January 26, farmer leader Joginder Nain said, 'We will send 10 tractor-trollies from every village in Haryana. We request people to come -- at least one from a house. And a total of 11 women from a village.' The Haryana Police had on Sunday fired teargas canisters towards a group of farmers at Masani barrage in Rewari district to thwart their march towards Delhi. The farmers first broke police barricades put up near Bhudla Sangwari village and then started moving towards Delhi in the evening.

'Two groups of protestors came in Rewari district -- one on December 31 the other on January 3. Police stopped us five kilometres before Dharuhera on January 3. They hurled multiple tear gas shells on us there,' Ranjit Singh Raju, a farmer leader from Rajasthan, said.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and some other parts of the country have been camping at several Delhi border points since November 28, demanding repeal of farm laws, a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops and other two issues.

Last week, the government agreed to exclude farmers from penal provisions of the Air Quality Management ordinance and to not pursue the draft Electricity Bill.

Interacting through Facebook on Tuesday, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSSC) leader Avik Saha said the government claimed that 50 per cent of demands of farmers have been met, but repeal of the farm laws has been a primary demand since day one.

'The government has not put any document or shared any document with farmer organisations which clarifies what the government has agreed to and how the government will implement it,' he said.

The seventh round of talks between protesting unions and three Central ministers ended inconclusively on Monday as farmer groups stuck to their demand for the repeal of three laws, while the government listed out various benefits of the new Acts for the growth of the country’s agriculture sector.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said he remains hopeful of a solution in the next meeting on January 8, but asserted that efforts need to be made from both sides for a resolution to be reached (taali dono haathon se bajti hai).

While several opposition parties and people from other walks of life have come out in support of the farmers, some farmer groups have also met the agriculture minister over the last few weeks to extend their support to the three laws.

Last month, the government had sent a draft proposal to the protesting farmer unions, suggesting seven-eight amendments to the new laws and a written assurance on the MSP procurement system. The government has ruled out a repeal of the three agri laws. PTI NIT BUN BUN TIR TIR