Rains take down tents but not farmers' spirit at Noida-Delhi border

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Noida (UP), Jan 3 (PTI) Protesting farmers at the Noida-Delhi border withstood rains and cold weather conditions as their demonstration against the Centre's recent farm laws continued here on Sunday.

Some tents at the protest sites collapsed due to the rain, prompting the farmers to use tarpaulin sheets for shelter as the drizzle continued till late afternoon.

Scores of farmers belonging to the Bhanu and Lok Shakti factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) are staying put at the Chilla border and the Dalit Prerna Sthal respectively for over a month now.

Despite the adverse weather conditions and a continued impasse with the government over the three new laws and the issue of legalisation of the minimum support price (MSP) for crops, the farmers said their protest will continue till the Centre repeals these legislations.

'Some of our tents collapsed due to the rain and the low temperatures also made it difficult for the protesters to sit under the open sky. Many of us took refuge under the structures at the Dalit Prerna Sthal, while tarpaulin sheets were used by others to stay put,' BKU (Lok Shakti) spokesperson Shailesh Kumar Giri said.

The situation was similar at the Chilla border, but the Uttar Pradesh unit chief of the BKU (Bhanu), Yogesh Pratap Singh, said his union's 'fight' will continue till their demands are met.

Meanwhile, the teachers' association of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra and the 'Kisan Adhikar - Yuva Rozgaar' association lent their support to the BKU (Lok Shakti) as hundreds of members of these bodies reached the protest site on Sunday.

The Bhanu and Lok Shakti factions of the BKU are not part of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farmers' unions that is leading the charge at Delhi's border points in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, but have extended their support to the cause.

A senior police official said the Noida-Delhi Link Road via Chilla continued to remain partially closed for commuters due to the agitation, though there is no law-and-order situation.

Thousands of farmers are staying put at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in protest against 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.

They have expressed the apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the MSP system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporations.

However, the government has been maintaining that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture. PTI KIS RC