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Farmers to block highways on Saturday across the country

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 2 minutes read

IT Correspondent
Mumbai, Feb 2:

The farmers  protesting at Delhi border demanding repeal of three farm acts are planning to block all national and state highways between 12 pm and 3 pm on 6 February, Saturday, as they conduct a countrywide agitation.
Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said on Monday that there will be a country-wide agitation and the roads will be blocked, in response to internet shutdowns in areas around the protest sites and farmers being ignored in the Union Budget that was announced on Monday.
Representatives of the protesting farmers’ unions expressed their anger and said that the budget fails to address their concerns, with no mention of raising incomes or generating jobs.
In Maharashtra, the farmers, especially from Nashik, are expected to join the agitation. An office bearer of All India Kisan Sabha said that they are with agitating farmers. Recently the farmers in large number had joined a march from Nashik to Mumbai.
The farmer leaders criticised the current annual budget. “Last year, budget allocation for the financial support extended through loans to Food Corporation of India for procurement at MSP was Rs.1,36,600 crore. Less than Rs.85,000 was spent. No amount is allocated this year. Such things make farmers think that it’s a conspiracy to shut FCI,” said Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India.
In her annual budget, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented data on rising government spending for purchasing grains and pulses at support prices, and promised to strengthen the state-regulated markets, or Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), further. The Budget promised to add 1,000 more regulated markets to the electronic national agriculture market, or e-NAM platform, where 17 million Indian farmers have already been registered.
Sitharaman set the target of agricultural credit to Rs.16.5 trillion ($225.74 billion) from Rs.15 trillion and said the government would raise Rs.30,000 crore in the next fiscal year with a new tax to boost agricultural infrastructure.
The FM’s announcements were focused to counter the criticism that the three reform laws passed by the BJP-led government at the Centre will weaken state-regulated mandis and lead to lower government purchase at MSP. However, it did little to reassure the protesting farmers, the leaders claimed.

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