New Delhi: Lambasting the Centre and the Punjab and Haryana governments over stringent provisions of lockdown, farmers’ organisations on Wednesday said the new rules regarding vehicular traffic are designed to weaken their movement.
The Punjab and Haryana governments have introduced the lockdown from May 2 and May 3, respectively to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The lockdown came up with some of the most stringent provisions, including the opening up of ration stores on rotation basis in Haryana. In Punjab, only two persons are allowed in four-wheeler vehicles. Similarly, the measures have also been taken to restrict the entry of people travelling from rail, air and buses.
Baldev Singh Nihalgarh, Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), who chaired the meeting of 32 farmers organisations from Punjab, said the measures, which would bring the economy of the state to a halt and deprive millions from earning livelihoods, will be strongly opposed.
Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border, Nihalgarh said the organisations have unanimously decided to oppose the move.
“What we observed last year is being repeated this year, too, where the government are imposing lockdown to conceal their failures. Three farm laws were brought last year when the entire country was under intense lockdown. It is imminent that farmers who will be travelling to the borders will be stopped and harassed.”
Nihalgarh said: “Similarly, our small businesses are at the risk of collapse. How will they cope up with such pressure. Thus, we have decided to oppose the orders and call upon farmers and small businesses to open their shops and establishments on May 8 as a mark of protest. Even migrants, who play an important role in our economy, are heading back to their villages in anxiety about the possibility of a national lockdown. They had a full year to prepare for the second wave but they did nothing!”
Balbir Singh Rajewal, President, Bharatiya Kisan Union Rajewal, said governments used lockdown whenever they fail to perform. “It has never happened that the country is in such a helpless state where it has to literally beg for oxygen and other equipment from the entire world. This lockdown is making our migrant brothers penniless already in a time when there were no earnings for an entire year. They returned after spending months in villages. Now, they are being forced again to return. Persons selling vegetables on carts are being hounded. The decision to oppose lockdown was taken by farmers’ organisations from Punjab. We will take the matter to the meeting of Samyukta Kisan Morcha on May 10. I am also appealing to the families to send at least one member to the borders too.”
Farmer leader Harinder Singh Lakhowal said “the government is known as the caretaker of life and property (Jaan-Maal), but leave aside property, the government is not even taking care of the lives of the people.”
According to Balwinder Singh Raju, the government has been taking exploitative decisions under the guise of corona and wants to snatch land belonging to farmers in this process.
Buta Singh Burjgill from BKU Dakaunda said “the ill intentions of the government were also clear from the fact that the district administration of Sonepat in Haryana held a meeting with us and requested us to wrap up the agitation as coronavirus is raging. When we asked them to set up vaccination centres at the borders, spray and distribute sanitisers, masks and other utilities, they simply refused to.”
The farmer leaders said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government has been taught a lesson in the recent Assembly elections in five states as well as in the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.
“I think it should now sense the mood and begin the talks,” said Nihalgarh. Talks between government and farmers stopped unceremoniously on January 22 this year.