Farmers in Lambi constituency, represented by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, are not happy with the paddy procurement.
An old man waiting for his paddy crop procurement Bathinda grain market on Saturday. Kulbir Beera/HT
They blocked traffic on the national highway to seek the attention of the administration for streamlining the procurement.
Farmers, who have been
awaiting the procurement at Kabarwala, Sarava Botla, Gurusar, Dabwali Dhab and Kattiyawali grain markets, staged a dharna and blocked the Delhi-Fazilka national highway near Kabarwala village for six hours on Saturday to protest against the state government's alleged failure to procure paddy from these centres.
The farmers had also undertaken a symbolic protest on October 10 to highlight their plight. They alleged that the administration had assured them that buying and lifting of paddy would go on smoothly at all five procurement centres.
Commuters had to face inconvenience following the dharna as long queues of vehicles could be seen on both sides of the road.
The administration's initial effort to pacify the farmers did not bear fruit. Later, tehsildar Harsharanjit Singh assured them that the procurement would start soon, following which the farmers called off their protest.
Farmer Sukhminder Singh said, "We have been sitting at the grain market for the past 10 days and no official has visited the market to procure paddy. The wait seemed endless so we had no option but to block the highway."
Meanwhile, the administration blamed rice sheller owners for the problem. Muktsar deputy commissioner Paramjit Singh said, "Procurement agencies had a technical problem with rice mill owners. Now both sides have reached an agreement. I visited the grain markets on Saturday.
Farmers will have no problem from Sunday onwards."