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Farmers threaten bigger protest on Feb 6, will block highways: Reports

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The protesting farmer on Monday announced to stage a nationwide protest on February 6 with 3-hour nationwide ‘chakka jam’, where they will block the national and State highways across the country against internet ban, cutting electricity and water supply in areas near their agitation sites, authorities threatening and harassing them, among other issues.

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Making the announcement at a joint press conference by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmer unions, at the Singhu border on the Haryana side, Balbir Singh Rajewal, who heads a faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Punjab said that they will block the roads between 12 pm to 3 pm on February 6. He also accused the government of repression by blocking roads around the protest sites, suspending Internet services and snapping the water and power supply at the three protest sites.

During the press conference, farmers also expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling government as they alleged farmers were “ignored” the in the Union Budget 2021-22, and water and power supply have been curtailed, and mobile toilet blocks being removed, at their protest venues.

The SKM leaders also alleged that the Twitter accounts of Kisan Ekta Morcha and a user named ‘Tractor2Twitter’ have been withheld.

Talking about the issues, BKU head, Rajewal alleged that the trains were being diverted to prevent the farmers from reaching the protest sites in Delhi from the neighbouring States, the Twitter accounts of supporters were restricted and journalists arrested, he said. “It has, therefore, been decided to block highways for three hours on February 6 in the afternoon in protest against the repressive measures of the government. It was also discussed at the meeting that the budgetary allocation to agriculture has been reduced.”

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Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav also criticised the government for “reducing the allocation to agriculture sector” in this Union Budget (presented on Monday), even though the percentage of allocation has gone down from “5.1 pc last fiscal to 4.3 pc this year”. He said the government is being ‘arrogant’ and ‘shrewd’ to reduce the budgetary allocation for agriculture amid the ongoing agitation. He also called out against the Centre for not allocating anything for the FCI. He said it raised fears that it could be a conspiracy to shut the FCI.

The farmer unions, in a press statement, also alleged that this Union Budget has proved that their apprehension is right as this government doesn’t want to strengthen agriculture instead its withdrawing its support. They also alleged that despite the huge farmers’ protests and discontent at their economic plight, the Union Budget gave the lowest priority to agriculture. The allocation has also fallen from ₹1.54 lakh crore to ₹1.48 lakh crore, while the share of agriculture and allied activities in the Budget fell from 5.1% to 4.3%.

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