Protesting farmers announce 3-hour nationwide roadblock on February 6

Union leaders told a press conference that they will block the roads between 12 pm to 3 pm on February 6

New Delhi: Farmer unions Monday announced a countrywide 'chakka jam' on February 6 when they would block national and state highways for three hours in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.

Union leaders told a press conference at the Singhu Border, on the Haryana side, that they will block the roads between 12 pm to 3 pm on February 6.

They also alleged that farmers have been "ignored" in the Union Budget 2021-22, and water and power supply have been curtailed, and mobile toilet blocks being removed, at their protest venues.

The Samkyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of protesting unions, also alleged that the Twitter accounts of Kisan Ekta Morcha and a user named 'Tractor2Twitter' have been restricted.

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav alleged the action against the Twitter account was taken on the "request of government authorities", adding accounts of some private individuals, who have been very vocal against the movement, have also been restricted.

He also claimed that the Union government has "reduced the allocation to agriculture sector" in this budget.

Balbir Singh Rajewal, a farmer leader from Punjab, and part of the SKM, told reporters that the modalities of the 'Chakka Jam' on February 6 will be decided after discussing it with various unions unanimously, including those protesting at Ghazipur border site, the new focal point of the farmers movement against the new farm laws.

Rajewal claimed during the press conference that scores of people have been "detained by the police" besides FIRs filed against many, including a journalist.

"Our February 6 protest would also be against this harassment faced by journalists who are trying to report the truth from the ground, and the Twitter restrictions," he said.

Swaraj Abhiyan's Yadav alleged that the Union government has "reduced the allocation to agriculture sector" in this year's budget. And, even percentage of allocation has gone down from "5.1 pc last fiscal to 4.3 pc this year".

He asserted that mahapanchayats are happening in the country, while the government is trying to "have its way".

These mahapanchayats will "dismantle the arrogance" of the government and the agitation will destroy the "shrewdness of the central government," Yadav said.

Asserting that the government is committed towards farmers'' welfare, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday proposed 10 per cent hike in the farm loan disbursal target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore, and introduced an agri infra and development cess of up to 100 per cent to create post-harvest infrastructure for improving farmers' income.

The minister also proposed higher allocation for Rural Infrastructure Development Fund and Micro Irrigation Fund, and extended Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to APMCs for augmenting infrastructure facilities.

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