Farmers’ protest enters 16th day: Only God knows solution, says farmer leader | 10 points
Delhi is likely to face more traffic congestion on Friday as police are stepping up border checks to not allow farmers block highways as they had earlier threatened to do by December 12.
The ongoing protest of the farmers against the three new agriculture laws enters 16th day with the farmers’ unions now threatening to block railway tracks. According to their earlier plan of blocking Delhi-Jaipur, Delhi-Agra highway by December 12, more farmers are likely to join the protests on Friday. Police have stepped up vigil on the border areas to ensure the protesters can’t block highways. On Thursday, the Centre said channels for more talks are open. Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar appealed to the protesters to stop agitation as talks are still going on. However, that led to no breaking of ice as the farmers are unwavering in their demand of a complete withdrawal of the three laws, which the Centre is ready to amend — but won’t withdraw.
Latest updates of the protest
1. While the Centre urged the farmers to consider the proposal that it sent on Wednesday, which includes a proposal of a written assurance on minimum support price, the unions said the proposals contained nothing new.
2. Farmers’ unions have said that the protest will be intensified and a date for railway track blockade across the country will be announced soon. Several trains — either originating from or terminating at Punjab — are regularly being cancelled, diverted, short-terminated because of the ongoing protests.
3. The main protest site at Singhu border, meanwhile, is buzzing with activities. Apart from langar, WiFi, reading facilities which have been there from the beginning, now a group of sportspersons, farmers are providing laundry services. Winter clothes are also being sold.
4. The farmers have said of the government invites the farmers for another round of talks, then they will decide that in their meeting.
5. As farmer leaders said agriculture comes under state list, the Central ministers on Thursday said the Centre has the power under Entry 33 of the Concurrent List to pass laws on contract farming and intra- and inter-state trade, and prohibit states from imposing fees/cess outside APMC areas.
6. Asked about a solution to the ongoing standoff as the Centre is not mulling withdrawal of the laws, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said, “Only God knows.” “We are facing a lot of difficulties due to cold weather and the Covid-19 pandemic, but despite this, we will continue our protest until our demands are met,” Kakka told PTI.
7. Talking about forces behind the farmers agitation, if any, Tomar on Thursday said media will have to find out that. Union minister Raosaheb Danve had earlier said China and Pakistan were behind the ongoing protests which evoked sharp reaction from farmers. The protesters, meanwhile, said their agitation has remained apolitical. They did not allow any political leader to use their platform.
8. Amid the protests, the ministry of information and broadcasting came out with a booklet highlighting agriculture reforms introduced by the government. Titled ‘Putting Farmers First’, the booklet discusses a great deal about the recent farm laws.
9. Traffic in and around Delhi remains disrupted with the main borders remaining closed.
10. On Friday, there will be more congestion in the borders that are open as police is stepping up security checks.