On Thursday, Farmers organizations in Haryana challenge prohibitory orders imposed during the pandemic to hold a rally at the Pipli wholesale grain market near Kurukshetra. Angry farmers blocked the Delhi Chandigarh highway for a couple of hours when the police there initially doesn’t allow them to go to the venue.
The cause of protest!!
Their main target is three central laws declared through an ordinance on June 5. These are The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020.
These protests go-ahead by sit-in across Punjab and are expected to gather heat by September 14, when Parliament members will assemble for the monsoon session.
Till now, these protests are only limited to Punjab and Haryana farmers. Farmer leaders in Maharashtra, including Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Paksha and Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, have actually welcomed the ordinances. Even, Shetti, a two-time Lok Sabha MP, has called the ordinances as the first step towards financial freedom for the farmers.
What is disturbing the farmers?
In fact, the opposition from Punjab and Haryana farmers is to the first ordinance that allows the sale and purchase of crops to take place outside state government-regulated APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis. They don’t have problems with the other two ordinances, which take away the right to do food stocking except in extraordinary circumstances and facilitate contraction cultivation.
In a letter to Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (which is part of the ruling alliance at the Centre), Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the ordinance will provide the permission for trade areas outside the APMC mandis. And this would serve as Additional marketing channels for farmers and APMC mandis will continue to function as usual.
The freedom of choice provided to farmers to sell their grains will help them to understand better prices for their produce. It will also help APMC to improve its efficiency and realize it to treat farmers better.
The APMC can charge their mandi fees and other charges but these would be applicable to only those transactions which are happening within the physical boundaries of their principal marketing yards or sub yards