Mrunal Manmay Dash

Several trade unions have called for a nationwide bandh in solidarity with the farmer protest in Delhi.

The united front of all the central trade unions, some independent trade federations and Samyukta Kishan Morcha have joined the bandh today.

The day-long protest which began at 6 am will continue till 4 pm in the rural parts of India on Friday where the protesters are seen picketing in front of all the Central government offices.

They alleged the Centre is trying to suppress the farmer movement and conspiring to fail the movement at the Delhi-Haryana border.

In States like Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the bandh will begin at 12 noon and continue till 4 pm where it is expected that the protesters will create a chakka-jam situation.

However, emergency services like ambulance operations, newspaper distribution, medical shops and students going for board exams will remain unaffected by the strike.

In Odisha, particularly in Bhubaneswar, the effect of the strike was minimal. Normal movement of vehicles was witnessed during the bandh. Even the trains are moving as per the schedule.

As part of the bandh, the trade unions will hold a rally at 11:30 am in Bhubaneswar.

Speaking about the bandh, a trade union leader Mahendra Parida said, “We hope to get the support of farmers, scheme workers and transport workers in rural areas as well. Even in the urban areas, we have not been called upon to stop vehicular movements. We just want to protest in front of the central govt offices. The bandh will definitely be a success.”

The effect of bandh was seen in industrial towns like Angul and Rourkela. Bus movement was halted at Rourkela and mines near Angul and Talcher were shut down during the bandh.

A trade union leader in Rourkela said, “We are holding Bharat Bandh today called by the Samyukta Kishan Morcha. It is a success. Vehicular movement including the Mo Bus has been stopped today. Several plants and industries in Kalunga and Rajgangpur areas are shut. Even mining operations at Kalta, Bimalagarh and Koida have been stopped.”

Hundreds of farmers from Punjab marched down to the national capital Delhi earlier this week to protest for their demands. They were, however, halted in Haryana's Ambala, which is at Punjab's border and about 200 kilometres away from Delhi.

The farmers are pushing for the legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops. They have also urged to scrap the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020. Also, an appeal to provide 200 days of employment per year and a daily wage of Rs 700 under the MGNREGA, linking it with farming, has also been made by the farmers.

Besides, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation for the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

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