Thousands of farmers on Thursday started their tractor-march from their protest sites in Delhi — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders — against the three agriculture laws demanding a complete rollback of the new farm reform laws and a guarantee on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system being retained. Multiple rounds of talks between the Centre and the farmers’ union leaders have ended in a stalemate.
The farmers started the tractor march around 11 am and moved towards Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway amid heavy deployment of Delhi Police and Haryana Police personnel.
The protesting farmers fear that the new laws will dismantle the MSP system and corporatise farming. The seventh round of talks between the government and farmers ended inconclusively on January 4 as unions stuck to their demand for a complete repeal of three farm laws they find pro-corporate, while the government wanted to discuss only “problematic” clauses or other alternatives to resolve the over one-month-long deadlock.
The two sides decided to meet again on January 8.
Farm unions say their march is just a “rehearsal” for their proposed January 26 tractor parade during which they will attempt to move into the national capital from different parts of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
“In the coming days, we will intensify our agitation against the three farm laws. Some 2,500 tractors from Haryana have participated in today’s march. We want to warn that if the government doesn’t accept our demands, the protest will get intensified,” Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior member of Samyukt Kisan Morcha said.
The Delhi traffic police has been tweeting updates on which roads to avoid. It said Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, Saboli and Mangesh borders are shut for traffic. “Please take alternative route via Lampur Safiabad, Palla and Singhu school toll tax borders. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and GTK road. Please avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK Road and NH-44,” the traffic police tweeted.
In the last meeting between farmers and ministers on January 5, farmer leaders said agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar told them to go to the Supreme Court as the Centre doesn’t intend to withdraw the laws.