Chandigarh: Farmers in Punjab and Haryana on Saturday held protests at many places against postponing of paddy procurement. There were also reports of clashes as protestors broke barricades outside the residence of Haryana Chief Minister Manoharlal Khattar and police resorted to using water cannon against them.
Police also baton-charged people protesting over delay in paddy procurement at Chandimandir Toll Plaza of Panchkula.
On Friday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha called for protests outside legislators’ homes in both states to express their dissatisfaction with the paddy crop purchase delays.
Due to recent heavy rains, the Centre has postponed purchase of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana until October 11 since crop maturity has been delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival has gone above allowed limits.
The procurement operation is undertaken by the central government’s nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies. Paddy procurement usually commences from October 1.
Meanwhile, Haryana minister Anil Vij on Saturday said the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s new laws is getting “violent day by day”.
“Farmers’ agitation is getting violent day by day. Violent movement in the country of Mahatma Gandhi cannot be allowed….,” said Vij in a tweet.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre to start purchase of paddy crop.
“The farmers of Punjab are upset, the central government has postponed the purchase of paddy for 10 days, farmer is standing outside the mandis carrying lakhs of quintals of paddy on his tractor,” said Kejriwal in a tweet.
In Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P 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.
Paddy crop, though in small quantity, has started arriving in mandis especially in border areas of Punjab, said farmers.
They questioned where the farmers, who have brought their crop at mandis, will go if their produce is not purchased.
Some fear that they would be forced to sell their crop below the minimum support price (MSP) to private traders.
A farmer in Haryana’s Karnal said his paddy crop will get damaged by October 11 when the Centre would start procuring it.
At some places, farmers even handed over memorandum to the Deputy Commissioners demanding commencement of paddy purchase.
In Haryana’s Ambala, police put up barricades to prevent farmers from laying siege to the residence of BJP legislator Aseem Goel.
A fire fighting vehicle and a water cannon vehicle were also deployed outside the residence of the MLA.
Tight security arrangement has been made outside the residence of Minister Vij at Ambala Cantonment, said officials.
(With PTI inputs)