As the ongoing farmers' protest enters its 20th day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with farmers in Kutch, including those from Punjab, during his visit to lay foundation stones for the 30,000 megawatts hybrid renewable energy park near Khavada and four desalination plants in Gujarat.
While addressing the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly said that Gujarat's trade of agricultural products is expanding since the government involvement is minimal. He added that Gujarat has introduced many farmer-friendly schemes over the 20 years and was the earliest in strengthening solar energy capacities.
Modi claims that a conspiracy is being hatched to confuse the farmers. They believe that with the implementation of new agri laws, their lands will be occupied by others. He added that the agriculture reforms proposed by the Centre are exactly what farmer bodies and even opposition have been asking for over the years.
Meanwhile, a number of 'Khaps' of Muzaffarnagar, UP, will be joining the ongoing protests at Delhi's border on December 17 in solidarity with the agitating farmers. On Monday, the decision to join the protesting farmers was taken at a meeting of the chiefs of 'khaps.'
Besides, Union Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for not restricting private companies from engaging in contract farming with the potato farmers. Also, JS Gill, Congress MP from Khadoor Sahib, Punjab, reportedly claimed that the protest will continue until the government hears the farmers.
According to various reports, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Committee expressed their willingness to engage in talks with the Centre but with certain conditions. Avik Saha, Secretary of All India Kisan Sangharsh Committee, said, "Farmers are ready for talks, but the three Farm Acts and Electricity Amendment Bill 2020have to be withdrawn."
Moreover, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said that a daily loss of Rs 3,500 crore is happening due to the ongoing farmers' agitation. The economic activities have come to a halt following the blockade of roads, railways and toll plazas. Meanwhile, reportedly, Delhi Traffic Police said that one carriageway from Delhi to Noida, Chilla Border, is now open, but other carriageways to Delhi from Noida is still closed.
Also, Gazipur, Singhu borders were also shut following the flood of traffic from Ghaziabad to Delhi due to the ongoing farmers' protest.
On their way to Patiala, two farmers were killed and around eight others injured after a truck hit their tractor-trolley in Haryana's Karnal. The deceased were identified as Gurpreet Singh and Labh Singh from Saferal village in Patiala. They were returning from the Delhi border, where thousands of farmers have been protesting against the government's contentious three new farm laws.