Thousand of farmers in India protest against new laws - Sky News photo

India is facing a loss of around Rs 35,000 crore per day as economic activities come to a halt with the ongoing protests of farmers against arbitrary reform laws.

The protests are giving a big blow to the inter-connected economies of the region including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has said.

The already broken supply-chain and transport disruption, which was recovering post the pandemic-induced lockdown, has come under severe stress.

India’s already broken supply-chain and transport disruption has come under severe stress

“Industries such as textiles, auto components, bicycles, sports goods which cater significantly to the export markets will not be able to fulfil their orders, ahead of Christmas, harming our goodwill amongst the global buyers,” ASSOCHAM President, Niranjan Hiranandani said, according to News 18.

Supporters of leftist parties block a train track during a nationwide shutdown on Tuesday.(AP: Bikas Das)

The standoff between the Indian government and tens of thousands of farmers — who are peacefully protesting against three farming reform bills — continues to grow near Delhi.

The ‘DelhiChalo’ peaceful protests have sparked others to take place across India and other countries, with a majority of Punjabi and Sikh farmers leading the charge on the ground locally and abroad to raise awareness about the issue, Global News said.

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The protestors have been met with water cannons on some of the coldest winter days Delhi has experienced, along with tear gas, concrete barricades, and some were even beaten with batons.

Despite the agitation from the government, farmers remain strong in their resolve to see the bills repealed in order to protect their future.

Supporters of leftist parties burn an effigy of Indian PM Narendra Modi in Kolkata.j
Supporters of leftist parties burn an effigy of Indian PM Narendra Modi in Kolkata. – AP photo

The protesting Indian farmers say the reforms threaten their livelihoods, stepping up pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to withdraw the legislation.

The reforms, contained in three laws enacted in September, loosen rules around the sale, pricing and storage of farm produce, Reuters said.

The protesting Indian farmers say the reforms threaten their livelihoods.

Six rounds of talks between government officials and farmers’ union leaders have failed to resolve one of the most pressing issues facing Modi’s government.

The government has said while the reforms can be amended it is determined to liberalise the sector. Farmers last week rejected a government’s proposal to amend the legislation.

Farmers from Punjab and the neighbouring state of Haryana, which border New Delhi, have been at the vanguard of the agitation, and set up protest camps in and around the capital.

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Protesting farmer leaders shout slogans as they sit on a day long hunger strike at the Delhi- Haryana border, outskirts of New Delhi. AP photo

“Farmers would step up protests at district headquarters throughout the country,” said Kamal Preet Singh Pannu, a leader of the Sanyukta Kisan Andolan (United Farmers’ Protest), one of 30 groups opposing the reforms, according to Reuters.

Farmers from the western state of Rajasthan tried to join the protest on Monday but authorities stopped them from entering New Delhi, Yogendra Yadav, a prominent social activist and farmers’ leader said on Twitter.

Farmers threaten to block trains if Centre doesn’t abolish laws

Farmer leaders have threatened to intensify their agitation and threatened to block trains in the coming days if the government doesn’t abolish the laws, CNBC reported.

The farmers filed a petition with the Supreme Court on Friday seeking the quashing of the laws, which were passed in September. The petition was filed by the Bharatiya Kisan Union, or Indian Farmers’ Union, and its leader, Bhanu Pratap Singh, who argued that the laws were arbitrary because the government enacted them without proper consultations with stakeholders.

Five round of talks between the government and farmers since November have failed to halt the blockade, with the protesters continuing to insist that the laws be repealed.

– Report by Shumaila Andleeb