Farmers in Punjab, Haryana block roads as part of nationwide protest against farm laws

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Chandigarh, Nov 5 (PTI) Farmers in Punjab and Haryana on Thursday put up road blockades at many places as part of a nationwide 'chakka jam' agitation in protest against three central farm laws, and demanded that these be withdrawn.

The call for the nationwide 'chakka jam' from 12 noon to 4 pm was given by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee.

Protesting farmers owing allegiance to over 40 outfits blocked state and national highways at several places, causing inconvenience to commuters.

Though police authorities diverted traffic at many places, commuters faced traffic snarls.

Farmers slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre for bringing the 'black laws' and expressed fear that these legislations would destroy the farming community and would only 'benefit' big corporate houses.

Punjab farmer organisations also lashed out at the Centre for suspending goods trains in the state that has affected supply of coal, fertiliser and other essential items.

Farmers squatted on roads, including major highways and state highways, at around 200 places in Punjab and Haryana, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee member Jagmohan Singh claimed.

Police said the road blockades passed off peacefully.

Movement of ambulances and vehicles carrying essential items, including LPG and petrol, was not disrupted.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said they have put up road blockades at 35 places, including Sangrur, Bathinda, Mansa, Barnala, Patiala, Ludhiana, in Punjab as part of the 'chakka jam' protest.

Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said their members blocked roads at 45 places in 10 districts of Punjab.

Earlier in the day, BKU (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh said they planned to hold protests at around 20 places in Haryana, including Karnal, Rohtak, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar and Fatehabad.

A protesting farmer in Bathinda said the Narendra Modi government wanted to 'defame and derail' farmers' protest by suspending goods trains in the state.

The Railways has suspended the operation of freight trains in the wake of blockade of some rail tracks by farmers in protest against the three central farm laws.

Protests were also held at the Sirsa-Mansa border road and the Jind-Sangrur, the Nilokheri, the Delhi-Barnala and the Narnaul-Kaithal highways in Haryana.

The farmers' organisations are set to hold a joint meeting in Chandigarh on November 18 to chalk the course of action to move towards Delhi on November 26 and 27.

The groups protesting against the three central farm laws have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporate entities. They demanded that these be withdrawn.

The three farm laws -- the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 -- were enacted recently.

The Centre has asserted that these new laws will be beneficial for farmers and will increase their income. PTI CHS VSD IJT