Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against three farm reform bills — The Farmers’ Produce Trade And Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill — passed by the Parliament in the recently concluded Monsoon session. Last week, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an MP of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the BJP’s oldest allies, resigned from the Narendra Modi Cabinet, in protest against the bills.
While farmers are protesting against all three bills, their objections are mostly against the provisions of the first. And while there is no uniform demand among the protesters or a unified leadership, it emerges that their concerns are mainly about sections relating to “trade area”, “trader”, “dispute resolution” and “market fee” in the first bill.
As many as 31 farmers’ organisations, which have different ideologies and leanings, are to fight collectively against these Bills, and the first agenda on their common programme is the ‘Punjab Bandh Call’, slated for Friday (September 25).
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