Farmer unions, currently leading the protest at the Punjab-Haryana border after the Centre blocked their march to Delhi with the help of the Haryana government, have announced a “rail roko” protest for four hours from Sunday noon. The protest will be held across the country. However, it is unlikely to impact on train services outside Punjab, official sources said.

Addressing media in Chandigarh on Saturday, leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (non-political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) released a detailed plan of the protest in railway stations and also places through which railway lines pass through.

However, the major focus of the unions at the press conference was on Food Minister Piyush Goyal’s recent statement on the Centre’s proposed formula to the protesting farmer leaders last month. They said the government should not mislead the farmers. Giving minimum support price (MSP) on some crops is completely misleading, they said. “This is the same proposal that was earlier rejected by the farmer leaders in the last meeting as it was contrary to the main demands of the movement,” farmer leaders said in a statement. The government wanted to give MSP only for five years, on the line of contract farming, it said.

Blames police

Farmer leader Amarjeet Singh Mohri said the local police did not allow farmers who reached Delhi from different States to protest at Jantar Mantar. He said they will fight against the Haryana government, which they allege has been preventing them to march ahead.

Speaking on the rail roko, he said women power will play an equal role in this campaign, and trains will be stopped across the country.

The rail roko protest, though called by the SKM (non-political) and KMM, has received support from five other farmer unions of Punjab, who are currently part of other faction under the SKM banner. Apart from BKU (Ugrahan), a major union in Punjab, Krantikari Kisan Union, BKU (Malwa), BKU (Doaba) and BKU Dakaunda (Dhaner) have also decided to take part in the protest on Sunday.

Farmers have been demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendation for fixing minimum support prices (MSPs) at 50 per cent over and above C2 (comprehensive) costs of production (including imputed costs of own land), and a law to guarantee purchase of crops at MSP. Other demands include unconditional pension for farmers above 60 years of age, and farmers should be made completely debt-free.