Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 19
The promise to repeal the three farm laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday has brought a big relief and cheer to the farmers in the agrarian state of Punjab. This also brings to an end the long struggle waged by the farmers against the three laws.
While the farmer unions, who had been at the forefront of organising one of the biggest struggles, say that this is a big win for them, as the government has been forced to accede to their demands, the farmers in the state are relieved as the “economic threat” perceived by them through the three laws is over.
Darshan Pal, a senior leader of Samyukt Kisan Morcha – the umbrella body of 32 farmer unions formed to spearhead the struggle – told The Tribune, “We are proud of our united struggle’s win. The government had to bend and repeal the laws. We feel sad that it took so many lives, before the laws were finally taken back.”
Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala, vice president of Kirti Kisan Union, termed the development as a big win for the struggling farmers of the country, saying it was only because of launching a united struggle that they had managed to make the Centre repeal the laws. “A meeting of the SKM will be held shortly to discuss all issues, including seeking assurance on MSP from the Centre,” he said.
Till date 665 farmers have lost their lives in the ongoing struggle. An economic profiling of the deceased farmers was done in a study by economists associated with Punjabi University recently, and it found that majority of those who died were small and marginal farmers. The study by economists Lakhwinder Singh, a former Professor at Punjabi University, and Baldev Singh Shergil, an assistant professor in the university’s Talwandi Sabo campus, has concluded that the average size of landholding of the deceased farmers is 2.94 acre. If the landless farmers, who cultivated the contracted land are taken into account, the average size of landholding of the deceased drops to 2.26 acre, concludes this study.
Talking to The Tribune, Gurbakshish Singh, a farmers from Bimbar village near Nabha, said farmers like him were very happy at the decision to repeal the laws. “It will ensure economic stability for us,” he said.
Reacting to the announcement, state Agriculture minister Randeep Singh Nabha said that he welcomed the decision of the Union Government to take back the three laws. “I thank the Prime Minister for listening to the long-standing demand of the farmers. I also demand that the Union Government compensate the families of farmers who died during the protest,” he said.