In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Roads, Transport, Highways and MSMEs informed that the National Highways Authority of India suffered a toll revenue loss of Rs 814.4 crore till March 16 as a result of farmers’ agitation in three states, as reported by The Economic Times.
Taking into account the heavy revenue loss, state administrations have been requested to reinitiate user fee collection at the tolls. The minister in the Parliament on Monday said, “loss of revenue due to farmers’ protest has primarily occurred in the States of Punjab and Haryana and at a few plazas in Rajasthan”.
Punjab witnessed the highest loss of Rs 487 crore, followed by Rs 326 crore in Haryana and Rs 1.40 crore in Rajasthan.
Nitin Gadkari further informed, “no loss of revenue is reported on account of farmers’ protest in other States”. Drawing the Punjab government’s attention to the matter, he added, “request has been made to Government of Punjab for urgent intervention for the smooth functioning of toll plazas in Punjab”.
Business loss of Rs 50,000 crores
The protest is on its 118th day and it is not just the NHAI that is suffering losses, but even the local businesses have been impacted by the agitation. We reported about the plea filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court to relocate the protestors at a legal protesting site. The protesting farmers have occupied warehouses in Patiala, resulting in a massive loss of business.
An Economic Times report stated citing the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) that the farmers’ agitation has caused a business loss of Rs 50,000 crore in Delhi-NCR by January.
Meanwhile, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait is trying to keep the agitation alive with his roadshows in different parts of the country. Moving South, farmer leaders Rakesh Tikait and Darshan Pal staged a demonstration against the Farm Bills in Bengaluru on Monday, reported Outlook. Elaborating on the plans, Rakesh Tikait informed that preparations were on to gather supporters from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to join a “Shaheed Diwas” programme, scheduled on March 23 to commemorate the death anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
The next item on the list is to burn the copies of the three agricultural laws on March 28, on the occasion of Holi and on April 5, a call has been given to farmers to ghero offices of Food Corporation of India across the country from 11 am to 5 pm.