Agri laws: Farmers block highway in Ambala, force Haryana minister to skip meeting

AMBALA: Farmers protesting against the three agri laws, which were enacted last year, blocked a highway here on Monday, forcing a Haryana minister to skip a scheduled meeting in the city.

Education Minister Kanwar Pal was supposed to chair a meeting at a panchayat bhawan located along the Ambala–Hisar national highway, which the farmers had blocked for a few hours, officials said.

The farmers gathered for their protest when Pal was scheduled to reach the venue to chair the district grievance committee’s meeting.

The minister skipped it following the demonstration by them, sources said.

Senior officers of the district were present at the panchayat bhavan for 11 am meeting, the officials said.

Police had barricaded all roads leading to the meeting’s venue in the morning and deployed a large number of personnel.

The blocking of the highway caused inconvenience to some commuters, but farmers ensured emergency vehicles like ambulances are allowed to pass during their protest.

The farmers had gathered near the Agarsain Chowk near the meeting venue, and they also broke barricades in a bid to reach it, police said.

Police had a tough time controlling the situation.

Ambala president of farmers’ union BKU, Malkeet Singh, said that they will continue to protest the public programmes of the ruling BJP-JJP’s leaders till the time the ‘black farm laws are rolled back’.

Farmers have been opposing public functions of BJP-JJP leaders in the state over the laws.

Several farmers have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November last year demanding that the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee minimum support price for crops.

However, the government has maintained the laws are pro-farmer.