An hour after the state government moved to amend the APMC Act, a joint forum of farmers’ organisations called for a strike on Monday drawing huge support from several sectors, including goods transporters, drivers of auto rickshaws and taxi across the state.
The strike will be preceded by the closure of state and national highways on Friday.Farmer leaders Kuruburu Shanthakumar and Kodihalli Chandrashekhar told media persons in a separate communication that all the groups of farmer associations have put aside differences and have come together to give the strike call.The earlier plan for a strike on Friday was postponed in anticipation that the government would heed the request of the protesters.

However, the tabling of the Bill in the Assembly led to angry scenes at Freedom Park, where farmers have been protesting for days.”Farmers and those depending on agriculture have been suffering from the last few months due to the Covid-19 crisis. The government’s Bill comes across as nothing less than a death sentence for the farming community,” Shanthakumar said.

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Services to be affected

Trucks, auto-rickshaws and taxi operations across the state will be seriously affected as the respective associations have said that a call for strike by the farmers’ collective will have their full support.G R Shanmugappa of the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ and Agents Association (FKSLOAA) said as many as 5 lakh trucks and lorries will come to a standstill when the farmers go on a strike.”This is not a political fight. Farmers are on the street because they are fighting for their rights. Our association will provide complete support by stopping all movement of goods,” he said, adding that about 4 lakh trucks from Karnataka and another 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles from other states will come to a halt on the day of the strike.Leaders of the Auto Rickshaw Drivers Union (DRDU) and Adarsh Auto Union, two major unions of the auto-rickshaw drivers, said they have already sent out a message to their community, asking them to support the cause of farmers.”The auto drivers are actually the children of farmers who have come to the city for a living. The farm sector is in a crisis and we will stand with them,” Rudramurty of the ARDU said.Adarsh Auto Union’s Sampath C said a meeting was held with other leaders in the union and it was decided that over 14,000 members of the union should show support by shutting down the services.

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Ola and Uber taxis to be hit

Taxi drivers working with app-based cab aggregators are split into several associations and unions. However, many of them are expected to stay off the road as a decision was taken to support the strike at a joint meeting of some of the associations.In two separate videos, Chandru Kumar of Jai Bharat Taxi Drivers Association and Tanveer Pasha of Ola, Taxi For Sure and Uber Drivers and Owners Association said supporting the farmers is crucial as most of the driver community hail from families which depend on agriculture.

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