Why farmers are protesting on the Chandigarh-Mohali border against Bhagwant Mann’s government

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Farmers have been camping in Chandigarh-Mohali since Tuesday night, demanding that the Bhagwant Mann government acquiesce to their demands regarding the sowing time of paddy, MSP for maize, moong and basmati among others.

Mohali police erected barricades and deployed water cannons to prevent farmers from entering Chandigarh. PTI

Farmers carrying rations, beds, fans, coolers, utensils, cooking gas cylinders and on the other side police erecting barricades and rolling in water cannons to stop their movement.

These are not scenes from the farmers’ protest in Delhi in 2020-2021, but from a new protest at the Chandigarh-Mohali border.

Thousands of farmers launched a protest at the Chandigarh-Mohali border on Tuesday, affecting traffic, after they were prevented from traveling to the state capital to pressure the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government with various demands, including a bounty on wheat and the start of paddy. sowing from June 10.

We look at why these farmers are protesting, what their demands are, and how the Bhagwant Mann government in Punjab is responding.

The protestation

Farmers belonging to the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha started marching towards Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab, on Tuesday to attract the attention of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

However, they were stopped by Mohali police from heading to the state capital on Tuesday evening. The farmers then hunkered down and parked their vehicles in the middle of the Chandigarh-Mohali road and also spent the night there.

In an ultimatum to the Punjab government, Farmer Leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said if Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann did not hold a meeting with the protesters by Wednesday to redress their grievances, they would head to Chandigarh breaking the barricades.

“This is the beginning of our struggle in Punjab and it will continue until our demands are met. So far, only 25% of farmers have come here. Others will come on Wednesday. It’s a do-or-die battle,” one farmer leader told the news agency. PTI.

On Wednesday morning, several farmer leaders held a meeting at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Mohali and said they would continue their hustle and bustle.

Unrest among farmers at the Mohali-Chandigarh border on Wednesday led to multiple traffic jams, with commuters at the reception.

Residents of Phase 7 were the hardest hit as four main roads leading to the YPS crossing were closed to vehicle traffic amid the protest. Authorities were forced to barricade and seal the Chandigarh-Mohali borders, Hindustan time reported.

What do farmers want?

The protesting farmers have a list of demands they want the Bhagwant Mann-led government to meet.

Farmers want a bonus of Rs 500 on every quintal of wheat as its yield has dropped and shrunk due to unprecedented heatwave conditions.

They want the government to allow them to sow paddy from June 10, instead of sowing paddy in a staggered manner from June 18 as previously announced by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Another request from farmers is a notification issued for the minimum support price for maize, moong and basmati.

A farmer speaking to a news agency ANI also stated that prepaid electricity meters should not be installed.

Moreover, they want the government to reduce the charges on extending electricity load from Rs 4,800 to Rs 1,200, 10-12 hours power supply and release of unpaid sugar cane payments.

The government speaks

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann called the protests ‘unwarranted and undesirable’, asking them to stop the chanting and join the state government in stopping Punjab’s groundwater depletion .

The chief minister said his doors were open for talks with farmers, but hollow slogans could not break his resolve to control groundwater depletion.

“They have a democratic right to hold a dharna but they should say their problems,” Mann said according to a PTI Newscast.

He was quoted as saying NDTV that the staggered paddy planting program would not harm farmers’ interests.

“I am a farmer’s son. I know how it can happen. What is the difference between June 18 and June 10,” he told the news channel.

He asked the farmers to support him for a year and claimed that if they suffered any losses, they would be compensated by the state government.

Later it was announced that Mann would meet with the farmers today and both sides would try to resolve the issues.

Union State Bharti Kisan (Sidhupur) Chairman Jagjit Singh Dallewal however added that the farmers’ protest at the Chandigarh-Mohali border will continue and they will reveal the outcome of the meeting later.

With contributions from agencies

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