Farmers from different parts of Uttar Pradesh have blocked the Delhi-UP border towards Noida and Ghaziabad. Delhi Police and RAF (Rapid Action Force) have been deployed to keep the situation in control. Farmers from districts in UP like Mathura, Bulandshahar, Mainpuri, Atah, Kasganj, Firozabad, Agra and Etawah have come here.
At Chilla border, which leads from East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar towards Noida, 60-year-old Shravan Baghel has come from Aligarh. Unlike Punjab’s farmers who own large tracts of land, he has a 5-bigha field on which he grows wheat. But he says the farm laws will affect those like him as it will do away with arhtiyas or commission agents who are dependable source of loans even for domestic needs.
“Mandis are like an ATM for farmers in our region. Whether it is for our bua’s bhaat or behen’s chchochak (clothes and jewellery for ceremonial occasion) or for school fees, we go to the arhtiya and are able to get money. If mandis end, then these big corporates of the Adanis and Ambanis will not give us money. They will treat us as if we stink and won’t even talk to us,” Mr Baghel told NDTV.
Others are worried about minimum support price (MSP). Kuldeep Pandey, 45, a farmer from Kasganj, told NDTV, “Farmers in UP also grow wheat, rice and vegetables. We barely manage to sell our crops at the MSP currently. If the MSP is Rs 1,800 for paddy, we end up selling at Rs 1,200. The laws will make the situation worse. Until and unless MSP is properly legalised, we will continue to face losses,” Mr Pandey said.
The farmers from UP are using social media platforms to ensure that they are constantly seen and heard by a much larger public.
They have formed over 400 WhatsApp groups and their Facebook live stream are seen by millions. Almost all the farmer unions have a Facebook page and developments through the day are streamed live.
“We use social media because farmers today are of the new generation. Through social media platform we are able to ensure that our voice even reaches those levels where policies are formulated,” Vikas Gujjar, a farmer from Noida, told NDTV.