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Farmers' unions to protest against decision to use corporate silos as procurement centres on April 7

The state government, in its order on March 15, had declared 11 silos, being managed by private companies, as purchase centres in view of the Rabi marketing season that started on April 1.
Last Updated 02 April 2024, 14:22 IST

Chandigarh: Two farmer bodies on Tuesday said they will hold demonstrations on Sunday against the decision to declare private silos as wheat procurement centres in Punjab.

The move will make grain markets redundant, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha said, adding that they will burn effigies of both the central and Punjab government over the issue on April 7.

Apart from SKM (Non Political) and KMM, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which spearheaded the 2020-21 farmers' agitation against the now-repealed farm laws, earlier announced that it will hold protests over the issue on April 9.

The state government, in its order on March 15, had declared 11 silos, being managed by private companies, as purchase centres in view of the Rabi marketing season that started on April 1.

A steel silo is a scientific way of storage of food grains and ensures better preservation in comparison to conventional storage warehouses. A silo also can also act as a purchase centre where farmers can bring their crops for sale.

SKM (Non Political) and KMM are spearheading the 'Dilli Chalo' march by farmers to press the government to accept their demands which includes a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.

The protesting farmers who have been staying put at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points between Punjab and Haryana after their march was stopped by security forces on February 13, have also demanded the release of five arrested farmers by the Haryana police.

Addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday, SKM (Non Political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal condemned the decision to declare corporate silos in nine districts as procurement centres for wheat storage in Punjab.

He said the Punjab government has “acted at the behest of the Centre”, claiming this was an attempt to make the 'mandis' (grain markets) redundant.

KMM leader Sarwan Singh Pandher accused the AAP government of trying to please corporations by allowing the sale, purchase and storage of wheat at private silos.

Pandher said he had “no doubt” that it was a central government policy but added that the state government could have stopped its implementation.

He urged farmers to not bring their crops to these silos for sale.

Both the leaders also demanded the release of five farmers, including Ravinder Singh Ravi, Amarjit Singh, both from Punjab, who were arrested during the ongoing protest.

Pandher said they will burn effigies of the Modi government and the Bhagwant Mann government on April 7 over the issue.

If their demands to rollback the decision on corporate silos and the release of the five farmers were not accepted by April 7, then they will hold a ‘rail roko’ agitation on April 9, Pandher said.

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(Published 02 April 2024, 14:22 IST)

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