The residents of Kokri Kalan and eight other villages are opposing the government move to declare their villages a nagar panchayat.
The villagers met on Monday and announced that if state government didn't stop the process immediately, they would start an agitation against the move. The villagers of Chugawan, Matwani, Kokri Phoola Singh, Kili Chalan and Nathuwala were also present on this occasion. People raised slogans against the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government and burnt an effigy of the government.
Addressing the gathering, Sukhdev Singh Kokra Kalan, state general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), said that more than 65% people are dependent on agriculture and others are labourers. “The residents of eight other villages, which will be part of the proposed nagar panchayat, too earn their livelihoods from agriculture. Why is the government hell-bent to declare Kokri Kalan a nagar panchayat? The SAD-BJP government trying to befool people in this regard,” he added.
The farmer leader further said the BKU had decided to launch a movement against the proposed wealth tax on farmers and the Punjab government policies soon. “The proposed wealth tax will be levied on farmers whose land falls within eight kilometres of the municipal limits in the country. Every farmer within the prescribed limits would have to pay an annual tax ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 70,000 per acre. Now, the Punjab government is aggressively going ahead with creating nagar panchayats, which will add to farmers' woes,” he said.
He alleged that the Congress-led UPA government's policies were meant for corporate houses, while the poor and middle class sections of society were suffering. He alleged that the economic policies of the UPA government had been a big failure. “On the other hand, the Punjab government is also playing a joke on farmers and other downtrodden sections of society. The chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, are good only for capitalists, while the poor people are forced to agitate for their basic rights,” said Kokri Kalan.
After the protest, the villagers held a meeting and decided to meet the senior officials of the district administration on May 6. Senior leaders of various organisations Bachan Singh Bhinder Khurad, Mahinder Singh Kishanpura, Malkit Singh Lohgarh and Gurdeep Singh Ajitwal also spoke on the occasion.