Farmers declare chakka jam on Feb 6 on all major highways


Farmers will observe a chakka jam on all national and state highways on February 6, 2021 from 12 PM to 3 PM to decry the persistent government repression, the corporate-friendly budget and to demand the repeal of the three farm laws and the legalisation of Minimum Support Price (MSP,) said the Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on February 1.

“The youth arrested and beaten; missing tractors and vehicles after January 26; blocking of all routes leading to farmer protest sites; problem relating to water, electricity, latrines, internet; attacks on journalists; stopping of trains carrying farmer supporters; withholding of Kisan Ekta Morcha – considering all this, we have decided to call for a three-hour road blockade on February 6,” said farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal during a press conference at the Singhu border.

The SKM leaders expressed disappointment that the Budget speech given by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not address the agriculture sector but chose to reduce previous year’s allocations. Farmers said that this showed how the central government claimed to think about farmers but offered no help at the ground-level.

SKM member Yogendra Yadav said farmers had hoped that the Budget session would address some of the farmers’ concerns.

“The agri and allied sector budget last year was Rs. 1,54,000 crore. This year, it is Rs. 1,48,000 crore. The budget was reduced by Rs, 6,000 crore but even that does not show the whole picture since the Budget size has increased as well. Last year 5.1 percent of the Budget was allocated for agriculture. This year, they spent 4.3 percent of the Budget. This, despite all that is happening here,” said Yadav.

Similarly, regarding the PM KISAN programme, farmers said Rs. 75,000 crore was allocated last year. This year the government gave Rs. 65,000 crore. However, Yadav said that the amount should have increased because the Centre has promised to ensure benefits to 12 crore farmers even though only around 6 crore farmers have benefited so far.

Moreover, the claims about loans also do not stand as government contribution is minimal in loans. Subsidies have also decreased from Rs.21,175 crore last year to Rs. 19,448 crore this year. The three schemes to assure MSP to farmers – PM ASHA, market intervention, PSS – all three schemes money reduced.

According to farmer leader Gurnam Chaduni, agriculture allocations have been reducing every time in this manner. Some farmer leaders also voiced concern about the fact that no budget allocations were declared for the Food Corporation of India (FCI,) indicating that the government may be thinking of closing the FCI.

“Today’s budget was shameful. We are asking for repeal and MSP and they are removing PM ASHA, market intervention and reducing allocations. This is not good behaviour. The Prime Minister should know jumlas won’t work now. We will return victorious,” said a farmer leader.

Meanwhile, the SKM also denounced the move to block the train from Rohtak, Punjab that was travelling towards Jhajjar while carrying farmer supporters. Many farmers had to take a painstaking path towards protest sites, said farmer leader Darshan Pal.

Regarding the recent list of people who have been arrested by the Delhi police, farmer leaders said the six-member committee dealing with missing persons will meet the people to discuss their cases.

The SKM said that the fact that the government resorted to such means as detaining people and blocking routes indicates that there is no limit to the schemes and pride.

“Attempts to cut off the net, sending notices to people, closing their Twitter accounts, these are proofs of a scared govt,” said Chaduni.

Leaders have resolved to strengthen and intensify the next protest to show the government that it will not back down from its demands.


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