India Markets open in 5 hrs 56 mins

Farmer unions say they will go ahead with tractor march in Delhi on Republic Day

·3-min read

New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) Farmer unions protesting against the Centre's agri laws said on Sunday that they will go ahead with their proposed tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day.

Addressing a press conference at the Singhu border protest site, union leader Yogendra Yadav said, 'We will carry out a tractor parade on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi on Republic Day. The parade will be very peaceful. There will be no disruption of the Republic Day parade. The farmers will put up the national flag on their tractors.' The authorities had moved the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor march or any other kind of protest by farmers which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of Republic Day on January 26. The apex court is likely to hear the petition on January 18.

Another farmer union leader, Darshan Pal Singh, alleged that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is filing cases against those who are part of the protest or supporting it.

'All farmer unions condemn this,' Pal said, referring to the NIA summons reportedly issued to a farmer union leader in a case related to the banned Sikhs For Justice outfit.

The tenth round of talks between the government and the protesting farmer unions is scheduled on January 19. On the same day the Supreme Court-appointed committee to resolve the impasse will hold its first meeting.

The previous nine rounds of formal talks between the Centre and 41 farmer unions have failed to yield any concrete results to end the long-running protest at Delhi's borders as the latter have stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three acts.

The Supreme Court had on January 11 stayed the implementation of the three laws till further orders and appointed a four-member panel to resolve the impasse.

Bhartiya Kisan Union president Bhupinder Singh Mann, however, recused himself from the committee last week.

Apart from Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat, agriculture economists Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi are the other panel members.

'We are meeting on January 19 at the Pusa campus. Only members will meet to decide the future course of action,' Ghanwat told PTI on Saturday.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at various border points of Delhi for over a month now demanding repeal of the three laws -- the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.

Enacted in September 2020, the central government has presented these laws as major farm reforms aimed at increasing farmers' income, but the protesting farmers have raised concerns that these legislations would weaken the minimum support price (MSP) and 'mandi' (wholesale market) systems and leave them at the mercy of big corporations.

The government has maintained that these apprehensions are misplaced and has ruled out a repeal of the laws. PTI NIT SMN SMN