Three agricultural ordinances: Why farmers across Haryana and Punjab are protesting

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Farmers in Haryana and Punjab have been protesting against the Centre’s three agricultural ordinances, which were supposed to be better for agrarians. The protest began on Thursday when the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) held a rally in Haryana’s Kurukshetra and blocked National Highway 44 even when the police attempted to stop them from reaching the venue amid COVID-19 restrictions.

These protests, preceded by sit-ins, are expected to pick up after September 14, when Parliament convenes for the Monsoon Session. The Haryana government formed a three-member committee to hold talks with the protesting farmers. The committee comprises of Hisar MP Brijendra Singh, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh MP Dharambir Singh and Kurukshetra MP Naib Saini.

The three ordinances passed by the Union Cabinet during the lockdown are: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance. The farmers are more outraged over the first one which seeks to promote ‘one nation one market’ for the farmers. The stated purpose of these ordinances is to attract private investment in the agricultural market and also help farmers sell their produce at better prices.

However, the farmers’ concern is that they will not get the Minimum Support Price (MSP) set by the government for their crops and that the Mandi system of selling agricultural products will also be affected badly.

The Haryana Police on Friday charged state BKU chief Gurnam Singh Charuni and 300 unidentified people for not following Covid-19 prohibitory orders and damaging public property during the protest.

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