Indian farmers hold protests across Punjab, Haryana

Chandigarh/Karnal/Ambala, October 02 (KMS): Farmers in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday held protests at many places against postponing paddy procurement.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Friday had given a call for holding protests outside the residences of legislators in both states to register their protest over the delay in purchasing paddy.

Farmers from the Bharatiya Kisan Union pitched tents in front of Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar’s residence in Karnal’s Prem Nagar and later hoisted BKU’s flag on the wall that Khattar shares with his neighbour.

A large number of farmers assembled in Karnal’s grain market against the postponing of paddy procurement.

In Ambala City, farmers marched towards the residences of BJP MLA Aseem Goel with their paddy-laden tractor-trollies. A heavy police force was deployed and barricades installed to stop farmers in Ambala City.

The government on Thursday postponed procurement of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival is beyond permissible limits owing to recent heavy rains.

The procurement operation is undertaken by the government’s nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies.

Paddy procurement usually commences from October 1.

In Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana KP Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga and staged protests over delay in the purchase of paddy crop.

Police personnel were deployed in strength to maintain law and order, said officials.

Farmers expressed apprehension that they would suffer if their crop is not purchased at the grain markets.