With the deadlock between the protesting farmers and the Centre continuing, another group of nearly 30,000 protesters from different areas of Punjab started their journey towards the national capital on Friday morning.Packed in a large convoy of tractor-trailers, buses, cars and motorcycles loaded with eatables, the farmers, largely belonging to the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, started their journey from Amritsar city.En route farmers belonging to other districts are joining them. They will reach the national capital's Kundli border on Saturday evening."After a night halt in Shahbad (in Haryana) today, we will head straight to Delhi," Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee President Satnam Singh Pannu told IANS.As per police estimates, the number of protesters could be over 30,000 with a sizeable number of youngsters and women.The farmers largely belong to Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Moga districts.Amid the journey, 'langar' or community kitchens have been put up to feed the farmers.Tens of thousands of farmers have already been camping against the farm laws on Delhi borders since November 27 as they feel that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate entities.
"Agriculture and agriculture marketing are state subjects. Hence these laws are unconstitutional and must be repealed. Acceptance to amendments means accepting laws," Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Rajewal) President Balbir Singh Rajewal told IANS.Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday urged the leaders of the farmers' unions to continue dialogue and find an amicable solution to the issues related to the new farm legislations.Both the Cabinet ministers were addressing a press conference in Delhi, a day after the farmers' unions unanimously rejected the offer by the Centre to amend the laws recently enacted to bring reforms in agriculture and allied sectors.As farmers' unions have started to accelerate their agitation with a call for blocking the expressways around the national capital, the government has asked them to return to the discussion table.The ministers maintained that the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities Amendment Act 2020 are the biggest agricultural reforms in the country so far.