How the Essential Commodities Act will impact the landless: In conversation with Chahna, a student from Haryana

Accusing the government of dividing the public through religion, caste, class and more, Chahna highlights the need for a united front in times of crisis, stating they won't back down till their demands are complied with.

Bhumika Saraswati December 15, 2020 18:30:56 IST

"Essential commodities like potato, onion, and wheat are [some of the] simple things used in our daily food routine. These had a certain stock limit earlier but now the government has removed that limit" says, Chahna, a 18-year-old, B.A. student from Haryana, protesting with her family against the new agricultural laws.

With the earlier limit on stocking basic commodities in markets removed, hoarding of the same by those in charge can lead to a shortage of supply, ergo greater demand for the public. When this leads to inflation in prices, how are working class families expected to survive?

“Many Dalits do not own lands and, that is why they have to purchase everything from the market. Now, if there are such high prices of goods at the market then how will they buy anything and how will they survive," added the student from Government College Hansi, Hisar, Haryana, who herself belongs to a landless Dalit family. As many Dalits remain landless for the most part, the Essential Commodities Act threatens the very foundation of their livelihood.

Accusing the government of dividing the public through religion, caste, class and more, Chahna highlights the need for a united front in times of crisis, stating they won't back down till their demands are complied with.

"We all should assemble and fight. And we should keep fighting until they take the laws back," she added.

The Indian National Lok Dal on 14 December announced that it will "boycott" the upcoming municipal polls in Haryana in protest of the "atrocities" being committed against farmers by the Centre and the state's BJP-JJP governments. Elections to the municipal bodies in Haryana are scheduled for 27 December.

Social activist Anna Hazare has written to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar warning "resumption of a hunger strike" against the Centre's "failure" to fulfill his demands including the implementation of the recommendations made by the MS Swaminathan Commission. Hazare's other demand includes granting autonomy to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).

"The Centre had assured that it would take appropriate action on the demands on the basis of the committee's report. Since nothing has been done till date to that effect, I am thinking to resume the hunger strike which was called off on 5 February, 2019," Hazare wrote in his letter to Tomar.

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