Narendra Modi in Kutch for inaugurate world's largest renewable energy resource park in Kutch today Watch live

Amid a raging protest by farmers at various Delhi border points, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet members of the farming community, including Sikh cultivators in Gujarat, during a visit to Kutch district on Tuesday. This comes amid angry protests by farmers against the new agri reforms for 20 days now. 

Modi will be in Dhordo on Tuesday where he is set to lay the foundation stones for several projects coming up in different parts of the border district. These projects include the world's largest hybrid renewable energy park, a desalination plant, and a milk chilling plant.

Ahead of the main event, the prime minister will hold discussions with farmers of Kutch district at the venue. A group of Sikh farmers, settled in areas near the Indo-Pak border, has been invited for an interaction with the PM, a release by the state government's Information Department mentioned.

Around 5,000 Sikh families reside in and around Lakhpat taluka of Kutch district, according to a rough estimate. Sikhs started settling in Lakhpat after the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri urged citizens to settle in this barren patch of land after the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

Farmers, most of them from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting outside Delhi against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The Centre has repeatedly sought to allay fears over the new farm laws and asserted there will be no tinkering with the existing MSP regime.

Farmers' protest resulting in daily loss of Rs 3,500 cr: Assocham

Industry body Assocham on Tuesday urged the Centre and farmers' organisations to resolve the impasse over the new agri laws, saying that the protests are inflicting a heavy blow to the economies of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K.

"A daily loss of Rs 3,000-3,500 crore is resulting in the economies of the region from the value chain and transport disruption because of the protests," according to a rough estimate by the chamber.?

Assocham President Niranjan Hiranandani said, "The size of the combined economies of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K is about Rs 18 lakh crore. With the ongoing farmers' agitation and blockade of roads, toll plazas and railways, the economic activities have come to a halt."

On Monday, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had said the farmer agitation has led to supply chain disruptions, which will impact the economy in the coming days and may impinge upon the ongoing recovery from the economic contraction due to COVID-19. 

Opposition to agri laws politically-motivated: Fadnavis

Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday told the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly that three agri laws passed by the Centre were being opposed for political reasons and claimed that farm sector reforms had been initiated when the Congress-led UPA was in power.

Speaking in the Lower House, Fadnavis said the erstwhile UPA regime was of the view that there should be freedom to farmers to sell their produce anywhere they want, a key feature of the recently-passed agri laws.

"In the year 2010, a committee comprising ministers from all states was set up regarding the implementation of agriculture reforms with a view that farmers should have a competitive and alternative marketing mechanism at their disposal," the former chief minister said.

He said a committee set up for this purpose was headed by Harshvardhan Patil, who was a minister in then Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra.

"When these reforms are implemented now, why should there be opposition (to the three agricultural laws passed by the Centre). This (opposition to the laws) is politically motivated," he said. 

Opposition misleading farmers, shooting from their shoulders, says PM Modi in Kutch

PM Modi in Kutch: "Opposition is misleading farmers, shooting from their shoulders. They also wanted these reforms but they couldn't when they were in power. But now that we have managed to do it, they are misleading farmers."

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