‘Like two sons of a father’: Transport unions support Bharat Bandh call

Transport unions on Sunday expressed their solidarity with the protesting farmers and said they would observe the call for the nationwide strikes on December 8. The Delhi Goods Transport Association and India Tourist Transport Association expressed their solidarity with the ongoing protests.

“Farming and transporting are like two sons of a father,” India Tourist Transport Association president Satish Sehrawat was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. He further added that 51 transport unions have decided to support farmers in their Bharat Bandh call.

Delhi Goods Transport Association president Parmeet Singh Goldie said that farmers form the roots of their business hence they feel they should express their solidarity with the agitating farmers’ unions. Goldie said, “We are supporting our farmer brothers. They are the roots of our business.”

On December 2, the apex body of transporters All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) had threatened to halt operations in north India in support of agitating farmers’ unions. AIMTC represents 95 lakh truckers and other entities across the nation.

AIMTC president Kultaran Singh Atwal told PTI that the apex body of transporters had from the beginning lent their support to the agitating farmers. He further added, “AIMTC has already extended its support to the farmer agitation from day one. We have decided on stopping our operations strategically starting from North India and if the government does not address the issue of the farmers, then we may decide to go for shutting down of transport operations nationwide in their support.”

Bal Malkit Singh, AIMTC core committee chairman, had outlined that they will primarily halt supply truck movements in north India starting December 8 and said that it will escalate into a countrywide halt of movement of supplies if the government chooses not to address the issues.

“Starting December 8, we will halt the movement of supplies in entire North India including Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. We will then escalate it to the entire country if the government fails to address their issues,” Singh said.

Several transporters’ bodies believe that the protests are legitimate and have extended their support to them as 65% of their trucks carry farm produce.

The Centre and the protesting farmers’ unions have not yet reached an agreement over the three laws – Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. Despite assurances from the government, farmers’ unions have said that they will go ahead with the Bharat Bandh on December 8.

The Centre and the farmers’ union will hold the sixth round of discussion over the laws on December 9.

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