Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 25
Farmers will march to Parliament on February 1 to protest the controversial farm laws, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said on Monday.
Farmers will march to Parliament on foot on February 1, the day the central government will present its union budget, Samyukta Kisan Morcha Kavitha Kuruganti said. The organisation also announced that the protests will continue until their demands are met.
Parliament’s budget session begins on January 29.
There are apprehensions within the government over the tractor rally scheduled for Republic Day on Tuesday, which many believe may set the stage for the agitation expanding beyond Delhi and Mumbai and becoming bigger.
The budget session is most likely to be a stormy one, especially with regard to the farmer protests that have now been going on for over five months.
Farmers have been protesting three controversial agriculture laws— The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act—since they were passed in Parliament in September.
Protests escalated in November, when farmers, who were then largely from Punjab and Haryana, marched to Delhi and pitched camps at borders of the national capital. The protests have been unabated since despite several rounds of talks with the central government, and have got support from various quarters of the country. Farmers have gathered in various parts of the country, including in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan, to hold protest the laws.
Farmers are concerned that the laws would weaken the existing mandi system and leave them at the mercy of private interests. They also concerned about a clause that allows contract farming, which they say will help big corporations enter agriculture and leave farmers at their mercy.
The central government however insists that the laws will do nothing to affect the Minimum Support Price—a minimum price guarantee made to farmers for their produce despite market conditions. MSP has been a key concern for farmers, who insist on a legal framework to guarantee it.
Farmers also want the three laws rescinded. The central government meanwhile has so far been unrelenting, insisting they have suggested amendments to the three laws and putting the implementation on hold, but has refused to repeal the laws.
Farmers meanwhile say they will accept nothing short of a complete repeal.