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For these kids its rare fair at Singhu

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | December 12, 2020 11:11 AM

NEW DELHI:  While the adults on either side of Singhu border that divides Delhi and Haryana, are engaged in a tug of war, children of rag pickers and the underprivileged who are otherwise the neglected street urchin have found this time of unusual prosperity -- even a blessing for few of them.

There is enough rag to bag and more food to nibble on with every passing day, some of these children brag.

Even a fortnight back, these children had never in their wildest dreams thought they would enjoy 'Zarda' (a Muslim rice delicacy served on special occasions), parathas, dry fruits, pinnis, laddoos, and the many langars arranged at the border town.

The amount of food they have had in the last two weeks -- a full tummy ensured a good night's sleep, say one of them. The quantity is so much that they could keep a bit extra and take home for later. This is because at 'langars' everyone gets as much as they want.

The langars set up under the principles of Sikhism - Kirat Karo Te Wand Chako (Community Service) and Ekam (Everyone is equal) is now a favourite of theirs.

"We live nearby only. We are very happy as we are getting to eat many things including sweets and different dishes everyday. It feels like a fair and we are very happy because of this, " said Ravi, a 12-year-old who lives near the protest site.

Fifteen-year-old Sunny told IANS, "We are getting Pepsi, fruits, proper food and that too as much as we want. We are extremely happy because of this."

The protests against the newly passed agricultural laws entered its 16th day on Friday. The crowd at Delhi-Haryana's Singhu Border has swelling up. Thirty thousand more are already on their way to join the others holding fort at key entry points to Delhi.

Unhappy over not getting a satisfactory solution to their demands, the agitating farmers are expected to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway by Saturday, even as the Prime Minister took to Twitter and urged people to listen to what his Ministers have told the farmers during their several round of talks.

Modi's request came as farmers leaders strategised for the intensification of their agitation across the country. Tens of thousands have set out of Punjab and Haryana and will reach Singhu by Saturday evening.

Part of a large convoy of tractor-trailers, buses, cars and motorcycles, the farmers largely owing allegiance to the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee were slated to reach the Singhu/Kundli border on Saturday evening.

"After a night halt in Shahbad in Haryana this evening, we will head to Delhi tomorrow, " Kisaan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee President Satnam Singh Pannu told IANS. The farmers largely belong to Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Moga districts.

Thousands of farmers have already been camping against the farm laws on Delhi borders since November 26.

"Agriculture and agriculture marketing are state subjects. Hence, these laws are unconstitutional and must be repealed. Acceptance to amendments means accepting laws, " Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Rajewal) President Balbir Singh Rajewal told IANS.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday urged the farmer leaders to resume their dialogue with the Centre and find an amicable solution to the issues related to the new farm legislations.

Both Ministers addressed a press conference in Delhi a day after the farmers unanimously rejected the Centre's offer to amend the laws recently enacted to bring reforms in agriculture and allied sectors.

Singhu, Tikri along Delhi and Haryana, and Chilla and Ghazipur along Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are already blocked and now even the Delhi-Jaipur highway on the Rajasthan side can be meeting a same fate without resolution on the farmers issue.

The move will disrupt Delhi's supply chain from another direction as the farmers have planned to block the National Highway 48 that starts from Delhi and connects with Rajasthan via Haryana.

The farmers are protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

The laws allow farmers to sell their produce at places apart from their designated APMC market.

They also aim at allowing contract farming under which they can enter into supply agreements with private firms for remunerative and pre-decided prices.

However the farmers believe the new farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system (MSP), leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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