New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Farmers across Haryana and Punjab on Saturday held protests against the delay in the procurement of paddy by the government. In Haryana, hundreds of protesting farmers gathered outside the residence of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Karnal and shouted slogans against the farm laws and the Centre's decision to delay paddy procurement. The farmers even announced to continue their agitation overnight.

Visuals posted by news agency ANI showed protesters climbing up police barricades and shouting anti-government slogans outside ML Khattar's residence in Karnal. The police even resorted to water cannons to disperse the protesting crowd. Paramilitary forces have been deployed outside Khattar’s residence, while roads leading to his house have also been barricaded by Haryana Police.

In Ambala, police put up barricades to prevent farmers from laying siege to the residence of BJP legislator Aseem Goel. A fire fighting vehicle and a water cannon vehicle were also deployed outside the residence of the MLA.

Meanwhile, in Punjab, farmers gathered outside the residences of several Congress legislators, including Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh in Rupnagar and MLA Harjot Kamal in Moga and staged protests over delay in the purchase of paddy crop. Police personnel were deployed in strength to maintain law and order, said officials.

The massive agitation across Punjab and Haryana came after the Centre on Thursday postponed procurement of Kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana till October 11 as the crop maturity is delayed and moisture content in fresh arrival is beyond permissible limits owing to recent heavy rains. The procurement operation is undertaken by the central government's nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state agencies. Paddy procurement usually commences from October 1.

Farmers expressed apprehension that they would suffer if their crop is not purchased at the grain markets. Paddy crop, though in small quantity, has started arriving in mandis especially in border areas of Punjab, said farmers. They questioned where the farmers, who have brought their crop at mandis, will go if their product is not purchased.

Some fear that they would be forced to sell their crop below the minimum support price (MSP) to private traders. A farmer in Haryana's Karnal said his paddy crop will get damaged by October 11 when the Centre would start procuring it. At some places, farmers even handed over memorandums to the Deputy Commissioners demanding commencement of paddy purchase.

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan