Updated: September 20, 2021 7:01:46 am
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) Sunday did not attend a meeting called by a high-powered committee formed by Haryana government to make efforts to clear the blockade on National Highway-44 on Kundli-Singhu border. The SKM said that “the farmers are not the ones who have barricaded the roads or blocked them” and accused the Haryana government of “misinterpreting the Supreme Court order” to “drag farmers into meetings”.
The Haryana government had earlier this week formed the committee comprising Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajeev Arora as chairperson and DGP and Additional DGP (Law and Order) as members to hold talks with farmer leaders and discuss modalities to reopen the NH-44 stretch at the Kundli-Singhu border. The panel was formed a day after Sonipat Deputy Commissioner Lalit Siwach held a meeting with farmers’ representatives and told them that while taking up a writ petition, the Supreme Court has asked the district administration to provide a way to the common people in the public interest.
Siwach had urged the farmer unions to either shift to one side of the highway or move to an alternate site. It was in this context that the Haryana administration had invited office bearers of 43 farmer organisations to attend the meeting at Murthal on Sunday – a day before a related case will come up for hearing in Supreme Court.
While the farm unions skipped it, Arora held a meeting with the local industrialists and heard their grievances regarding the blockade. “It was our first meeting. We will continue the process and make efforts again till a solution is found to reopen the road. It will be a continuous process. We are confident that some solution will be found out”.
On farmers’ contention that they have not blocked the road but it’s the Delhi Police, which has put up barricades, Arora said: “These things will be cleared only when the talks are held. We just know that we came here for a meeting and those who were invited to it, did not come to attend it”.
Meanwhile, the SKM, in a statement said that while hearing a writ petition on August 23, the SC had “impressed upon the Solicitor General that the solution lies in the hands of Union of India and the concerned state governments and they must coordinate to ensure that if the protests are on, at least the inter-state roads and national highways are not blocked in any manner”.
“The SKM leaders have reasoned that the SC orders were being misinterpreted. The Government is adamant on not fulfilling the farmers’ rightful demands, and has not initiated any talks with farmer representatives after January 22 this year. The government does know where the solution lies and has been vengefully obstinate about putting protesting farmers through hardships, even though more than 600 protestors have been martyred so far. It is shameful that an elected government in the world’s largest democracy is putting its citizens through such a struggle for saving their own livelihoods and future,” the statement read.
“It is not the farmers who have blocked the roads. In fact, protesting farmers have created clear paths on both sides of the road at Singhu border as well as Tikri border for traffic to move, and have been forced to occupy only one side of the road at Ghazipur border. Same is the situation at Shahjahanpur border and other morchas,” it further said.
The Sonipat administration too released a statement. “There are nearly 5,000 industrial units in Sonipat in which around four lakh workers are employed. In the meeting with the government panel, the industrialists sought resolution of their problems. They also demanded repair of alternative roads,” it said.
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