One of the key routes connecting Uttar Pradesh with national Capital has been closed as farmers continued their protest at the Noida-Delhi border for the second day on Wednesday against the Centre’s agricultural laws.
“The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic due to farmers protests near Gautam Budh Dwar,” the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted. “People are advised to avoid Noida link road for going to Noida and use NH-24 and DND [Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway] instead for Noida.”
The farmers who gathered at the Delhi-Noida border on Tuesday evening are from western Uttar Pradesh, reported PTI. They are mostly affiliated to the Bharatiya Kisan Union and other groups and want to reach the national capital to join the bigger agitation.
Five border points between Delhi and Haryana have been shut too. While the Haryana-Delhi border at Singhu and Tikri continue to remain closed for traffic, two more border points connecting the national capital with Gurgaon and Jhajjar-Bahadurgarh were also shut as precautionary measures. The Badusarai border is open only for two-wheelers.
The police have deployed heavy force at all the border points.
Thousands of farmers from several states in India, especially Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting for the seventh day at Delhi’s borders. The Centre has called for a fourth round of talks with the farmers on December 3, after the meeting between the government and over 30 union leaders on Tuesday failed to break the deadlock. During the discussion, the government offered to set up a committee to look into the concerns related to the laws. But the farmers turned down the idea and sought that the Centre abolish the new legislations.
What are the farm laws?
The Parliament had passed three ordinances – Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 – in September. They were signed into laws by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27.
Taken together, the three legislations loosen regulations on the sale, pricing and storage of agricultural produce. They allow farmers to sell outside mandis notified by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee. They enable contract farming through deals with private sector companies. They take food items like cereals and pulses off the list of essential commodities, lifting stock limits on such produce.
Farmers and traders have alleged that the government wants to discontinue the minimum support price regime in the name of reforms. They fear that the laws will leave them at the mercy of corporate powers. The government has maintained that farm laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
The government claims the new laws would give farmers the freedom to sell in the open market. But farmers say the laws will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, leave farmers to the mercy of market forces and threaten food security.
Most Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations across the country have strongly opposed the bills. The Shiromani Akali Dal, one of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s oldest allies, pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance in protest against these bills.