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Farmers seek to ensure 'toll-free' India on Saturday
New Delhi, December 12, 2020
Agitating farmer unions here have circulated a message among their cadres across the nation to make India a "toll-free" country for Saturday in the ongoing protest against the three farm laws enacted by Parliament.
The message was circulated a day ago and the announcement was made in two previous farmers' meeting held at Singhu border on Delhi-Chandigarh highway on Thursday and Friday.
A particular wing of protesting farmers led by a few of their representatives have moved towards Delhi-Gurgaon toll plaza to begin their scheduled protest.
Harinder Singh Lakhowal, General Secretary Bharatiya Kisan Union (Punjab), told IANS that they want to make the whole country toll-free on Saturday as part of the protest.
"We will start from Delhi-Gurgaon toll plaza and similar steps will be taken by our supporters across India for today (Saturday)."
Lakhowal also said that they have planned to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway too in the same way that the farmers have already blocked Kundali, Tikri, Palwal and Ghazipur borders that connect Delhi to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
He said that, on December 14, farmers will stage a protest outside all district headquarters.
Bharatiya Kisan Union President (Haryana) Gurnam Singh told IANS that the farmers' agenda for Saturday is to make India "toll free" for one day.
"We have decided to stop toll payment for today (Saturday)," Singh said.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are staging protests at different places on Delhi's borders with neighbouring states, braving chilly winter nights under open skies on the roads against the government with their first and major demand for the repeal of the three contentious farm laws passed by Parliament in September. The protest began from November 26 with thousands of farmers blocking Singhu border.
The deadlock between the farmers and government is still unresolved despite five rounds of talks. Both sides are still open to discussions but they are not ready to compromise on the issue of the three laws -- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The farmers, among other things, want the laws to be repealed. The Government has said that this cannot be done but is willing to make amendments in the laws, taking into account the objections raised by the farmers.