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SKM Vows To Escalate Stir; Farm Unions To Hold Nationwide 'Rail Roko' Protest On Feb 18

In a big development on Wednesday, the SKM announced that a nationwide Rail Roko (Rail blockade) protest will be held on February 18 from noon to 4 pm.

Written By
Akhil Oka

In a big development on Wednesday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha announced that a nationwide Rail Roko (Rail blockade) protest will be held on February 18 from noon to 4 pm. The SKM is an umbrella body of several farm organizations protesting at the Delhi borders seeking the repeal of the three agrarian laws passed by Parliament. Apart from this, a slew of other decisions were taken in the meeting called by the farm leaders to escalate the ongoing agitation. 

For instance, all toll plazas in Rajasthan will be rendered dysfunctional on February 12. Two days later, the farm unions will organise candle marches and other functions to pay tribute to the Pulwama martyrs. On February 16, the farmers will show solidarity throughout the country on the birth anniversary of Sir Chhoturam. At present, the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the agrarian laws and formed a committee to resolve the ongoing standoff. 

Read: 'Congress Govt Will Undo Farm Laws; We Won't Divide, We'll Add You': Priyanka Vadra In UP

Impasse over the farm laws

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 aims at freeing the farmers from the constraints of the state Agriculture Produce Market Committees whereby they would be able to sell their produce anywhere. Meanwhile, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 protects and empowers farmers to engage with processors, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters for farm services. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potato, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances.

At present, the talks between the Union government and the farmers' unions have come to a standstill. This is owing to the fact that farm associations refused to agree to the Centre's proposal for suspending the implementation of the aforesaid legislation for one and a half years. While the last round of talks lasted for nearly 5 hours, the farmers claimed that the two sides sat face-to-face for less than 30 minutes. The divide between the two sides further exacerbated on January 26 after the farmers' tractor rally turned violent resulting in 510 Delhi police personnel getting injured and extensive damage to public property.

Read: BJP Claims Win In Anurag Thakur & Ravneet Bittu's Spat; Cong MP Can't Prove Farm Law Fears

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