Hundreds of commission agents engaged in foodgrains trade, known as Arhtiyas, from Haryana and Punjab have joined the farmers protest at Tikri border near Delhi. They arrived in several buses from various places in these two states on Wednesday and would stay there for a week.
The commission agents said that they fully support the farmers’ struggle as the fate of both of them are interlinked. One of their leaders told the media that a wrong perception has been created by the government that they are exploiters when the fact is that it is the big corporate houses, such as Ambanis and Adanis, whom the government wants to bring in, which are the real exploiters.
According to an estimate, there are 78,000 such commission agents in Punjab where there are two crore farmers. Similarly, there are 35,000 Arhtiyas in Haryana which has one crore farmers.
The farmers too are obliged by the support from the commission agents and said that they function like ATMs. Whenever the farmers need money, they approach them as it is not always possible to withdraw money from bank.
Actually, the term ATM was used for commission agents by late Sushma Swaraj, while speaking in Parliament on this issue some years back when she was in the opposition and her party’s stand was just the opposite of now when it is in power.
Some of the commission agents who had joined the movement on Wednesday do not like to be addressed as commission agents. Actually, this term should be used for the big corporate houses, he said adding that he earns less than Rs 3.50 lakh annually. According to him commission agents has become a much-maligned name when the fact is that they are providing yeoman’s service to the society.