Farmers Protest: PUDA Ground, Patiala

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Day 183

Toll 484+


PUDA Ground, Patiala

The farmers protest have a clear goal: repeal Farm Laws, legalise MSP, stop Electricity and Environment Ordinances. Yet, are the protests only about that?

No, for various farmers unions, as per their independent charters, the protests are about multiple issues, all leading to a critique and opposition of the neo-liberal structure of the state.

For many weeks now, India is in the grip of the pandemic second wave. Officially, in the last two months we have doubled the number of dead. Unofficially, we all know the numbers are many times higher. For once even lapdog media, at least print, has kept its eyes on the catastrophe. Even over a month after the scarcity of beds, ventilators, oxygen scarcity hit us, we have not plugged the gaps.

The government remains absent. Civil society groups try their best to match the demands. Some corporates step in to fulfil requirements. MoSha hide behind high walls.
What do we the people do? What can we do? We seek help on social media, we vent on social media. We get help on social media, we get shoulders to cry on. But how do we hold the government accountable? 2024 is too far. If we know one thing, it is: likely the government will over come the crises and win again. If you disagree with that, do you really have a plan or just hope?

Instead of getting into these debates, BKU Ekta Ugrahan has decided to hold a day-and-night protest at PUDA Grounds, Patiala from today until the 30th of May. They demand:

- Fill 30% vacancies in the state health department.

- Bring all major private hospitals under government control.

- Fix treatment costs for patients in small private hospitals.

- End black market on necessary medicines, oxygen and other equipment.

- Stop penalising, jailing violators. Instead run information and education campaigns.

- Instead of blanket lockdowns and curfews, arrange food for the needy. Open up the Public Distribution System.

- Instead of forcing vaccines, resolve vaccine apprehensions.

- Arrange COVID-19 test and basic medical aid at village and urban neighbourhood level.

- Make provisions to treat those suffering other deadly illnesses.

- Open the treasury to increase government capital investment in all public sectors including health sectors.

- Impose direct taxes on big corporates and landlords.

BKU Ekta Ugrahan’s instruction to every protester is to take precautions, wear masks, keep necessary distance. The union has also taken the responsibility of implementing basic medical aid and preventing possible virus spread.

Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress-ruled Panjab adopted the same line as the Central BJP government: the protest will be a super spreader, don’t do it.

This approach, to me is flawed because it is an incomplete truth. The full truth is: yes, as government, as administration, as your elected representatives, we failed. We failed to build infrastructure to contain the pandemic. We wasted your taxes. Now we are trying our best. We are doing this, this and this… We welcome all your suggestions and commit to fulfil them. Would you please consider not gathering and turning the protest into a super-spreader event?

Sadly, that never happens. Every government scares us, talks down to us, and never reflects or accepts its own omissions. That is why, protests are not a choice, but a necessity.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 28th, 2021 at 12:48 pm and is filed under Punjab. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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