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Heavy rains across Bengal hit Durga puja preparations

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Kolkata: Boys enjoy themselves after heavy rains cause floods in Kolkata, on 29 Sep, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata, Sep 29 : Inundated streets caused by heavy showers forced West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to cut short a programme here in the city, large parts of which went under knee-deep to ankle-deep water on Sunday, while many Durga puja organisers in north Bengal’s Siliguri town had to postpone inauguration of marquees.

With the Curzon Park in central Kolkata under knee-deep water, Dhankhar could not enter the venue of a programme celebrating the 227th birth anniversary of Rani Rasmoni. The Governor accepted the memorabilia sitting on a chair on the nearby pavement but had to return without garlanding Rani Rasmoni’s statue.

According to the Regional Meteorological Centre, Alipore, the city and its adjoining districts received 37.3 mm rainfall over 24 hours till 8.20 a.m. on Sunday, while intermittent rains continued thereafter.

From Topsia in east Kolkata to Khidirpore in the western part of the city as also Ballygunge in the south, many roads saw heavy water-logging, and vehicles moved at a snail’s pace. A number of pockets in the satellite township of Salt Lake went under water till noon.

In Jhargram district, the Jamboni block was completely cut off with the Dulung river flowing over the danger mark.

In Siliguri, the preparations for Durga puja – the biggest festival in this part of the world beginning on October 4 – has been greatly hampered because of the inclement weather.

Many big budget community puja organisers of the north Bengal town have postponed their inauguration till ‘panchami’ (October 3) with the heavy showers leading to water-logging. Going by the trend in recent years, the marquees should have been inaugurated either on Sunday or Monday.

The rains have halted construction of a number of marquees, while some puja organisers were tense about water-logging outside the pandals.

“Due to the rains, the work on marquee has been temporarily stopped,” an organiser of Central Colony puja committee said.

“We had to postpone our inauguration by a day as the labourers are unable to work in the present condition. So we are now concentrating on finishing the indoor first,” said Dadabhai Sporting Club Puja Committee secretary Babul Roychowdhury.

The weatherman, however, failed to give any good news.

According to the met office, heavy to very heavy with extremely heavy rains are likely over Malda district, while West Burdwan, Birbhum, Jalpaguri, Cooch Behar and Kalimpong could receive heavy to very heavy showers.

Heavy rainfall warning has been given for Bankura, East Burdwan, Nadia, East Midanpore, West Midnapore and Hooghly districts.

Thunderstorm with lightning have been forecast for all districts.

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UP farmers join nationwide bandh over 3 farm bills in a big way

BKU state president Rajveer Singh Jadaun claimed Friday’s ‘chakka jam’ was completely successful with wide support from traders and the public. He regretted that police tried to sabotage the peaceful agitation at some places.

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Kisan Tractor Rally
(File PIcture)

New Delhi: Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, like their counterparts in Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country, on Friday took to the streets in protest against the contentious farm bills passed by Parliament recently.

Friday’s was the first major protest in UP, unlike Punjab and Haryana that have been on the boil since the bills cleared the Parliament hurdle.

Responding to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by various farmers’ bodies and supported by opposition parties, the farmers blocked state and national highways, organised tractor rallies and held demonstrations disrupting traffic for three-four hours in several districts of the state with police having a tough time dealing with protesters.

There were reports of clashes between police and protesters in some districts, including Shrawasti and Kannauj.

The opposition parties, who lent their support to the farmers by joining the cause in various districts, included Samajwadi Party, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and left parties.

With Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a farmers’ organisation with a strong presence in several states of north India, being in the forefront, the impact was most visible in the Jat-dominant western UP districts that were on high alert with heavy police deployment.

BKU state president Rajveer Singh Jadaun claimed Friday’s ‘chakka jam’ was completely successful with wide support from traders and the public. He regretted that police tried to sabotage the peaceful agitation at some places.

“Ours was a totally peaceful agitation and we ensured no emergency services, like movement of ambulances, were disrupted but some policemen, who wanted to spoil the state government’s image, unnecessarily misbehaved with and lathi-charged our people at some places,” he alleged.

Reports of protests started trickling in right from the morning, with a group of Lucknow-bound farmers blocking the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway in Barabanki and burning crop waste on the road in protest. The farmers intensified the agitation as the day advanced. The protests lasted till about 3 pm.

In Lucknow, farmers protested at the Shahid Path crossing as well as in Bakshi Ka Talab while other groups demonstrated on the highway near Akbarpur Mati in Kanpur Dehat and blocked the national highway in Gursahaigunj in Kannauj.

In western UP, farmers blocked the Delhi-Noida highway, NH 58 in Muzafarnagar, Delhi-Saharanpur highway in Saharabpur, Meerut-Karnal highway in Shamli, Delhi-Pauri highway and Falauda road that connects Delhi to Haridwar and Dehardun etc. At some places, farmers were seen riding tractors with loudspeakers blaring patriotic songs while at others they were seen cooking food sitting on the road itself. In many cases, they parked their tractors on the roads to cause a blockade.

Reports of similar road blockades came from Mahoba and Jalaun in Bundelkhand too.

SP members joined the protests in various districts, including Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Agra. They submitted memorandums for the governor through the district administration demanding that the Centre withdraw the ‘anti-farmer’ bills.

Congress workers took out a march in Varanasi, while AAP members and Allahabad University students staged protests separately in Prayagraj.

CONTENTIOUS BILLS

Farmers have strong reservations over some provisions of the three Bills— the Farmers’ Produce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill — all passed by Parliament recently.

“The three proposed laws, if enacted without suitable amendments, will be a sure recipe for disaster of small farmers,” Jadaun said. “We have three specific demands. First, it should insert clauses in the new Bills, stating that the minimum support price (MSP) system will continue. Second, maximum stockholding limit for traders will not be done away with and third, mandi fee will be abolished for all agri products sold and purchased within the mandi yards,” Jadaun stressed.

He said BKU’s national executive will hold its meeting in a day or two to take a call on further course of action.

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Thousands of farmers across Maha protest agriculture bills

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ leaders addressed small rallies of protesters and explained the contentious issues in the revised farm laws which could be detrimental to the agro-communities and consumers while benefitting corporate houses.

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Maharastra Farmers Protest
Maharashtra Farmers Protests (File Picture)

Mumbai, Sep 25 : Thousands of slogan-shouting, and banner/poster-carrying farmers took to the streets all over Maharashtra on Friday to protest against “the anti-farmers” law recently passed by the Parliament and vowed to fight them with all vigour.

The agitation has been supported by the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the All India Kisan Sabha, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, major farmers’ organisations, various national and state level trade unions and student unions.

Spearheaded by AIKS President Ashok Dhawale from Palghar, in Mumbai, the protests were led by Mahendra Ugade, by Sunil Kharpat in Thane, by Subhash Dake in Beed, by Govind Ardad in Jalna, by Sudam Thakre in Nandurbar, and by Arjun Ade in Nanded.

In Kolhapur, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana President Raju Shetti urged farmers in the state and all over the country to protest the laws with full vigour, and led an agitation in which a bonfire was made of the copies of the law.

“These laws are detrimental to the very survival of the farming community. The government has pushed through these laws undemocratically and it was a black day when it was passed in Parliament. We will not tolerate the injustice meted out to the farmers,” he said.

State SSS President Sandeep Jagtap led farmers in Nashik where they protested by burning an effigy of the centre and shouted slogans condemning the government.

Similar protests were carried out in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik, Nandurbar, Jalna, Beed, Aurangabad, Nanded, Yavatmal, Buldhana with thousands of farmers taking part in the agitation and marching to offices of the local Collectors or tehsildars.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ leaders addressed small rallies of protesters and explained the contentious issues in the revised farm laws which could be detrimental to the agro-communities and consumers while benefitting corporate houses.

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Farmers stage protests in Odisha against farm Bills

Farmers also staged a protest at the Master Canteen Square in Bhubaneswar.

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Odisha Farmers

Bhubaneswar, Sep 25 : Farmers across Odisha on Friday staged protests against the passage of the contentious firm Bills by the Parliament.

The protests were joined by farmers, trade union workers, activists and students, while several political parties, including the Congress, extended their support to the protests.

Members of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan protested against the bills at the AG Square in Bhubaneswar. The police detained several protesters while they were trying to enter into the state secretariat.

Meanwhile, members of the Navnirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) tried to gherao the Krushi Bhawan in the city.

Farmers also staged a protest at the Master Canteen Square in Bhubaneswar.

“The Bills passed in the Parliament are against the interests of the farmers. We are protesting against the Bills. The Central government is trying to finish the economy of the country. We strongly oppose the Bills, which were passed in an undemocratic way,” said a protesting farmer.

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