Bathinda: The district administration has stepped forward to break the deadlock with the farmers, who have been on an indefinite protest for the past 10 days outside the deputy commissioner’s office here.
On Saturday, first inspector general of police (IGP) BK Bawa met the farmers and then deputy commissioner Basant Garg also held a meeting with them.
After a holding meeting with the farmers’ representatives, Garg has informed the chief minister’s office in writing about the farmers demands.
Garg said the CM’s office has been informed about the demands of farmers, including that of compensation to the suicide victim’s family. “The CM’s office is considering the demands and would take a decision on them soon. The demand of farmers to fix a meeting with the CM has also been passed on to higher authorities. We are making every effort to make farmers end the protest,” Garg said.
FARMERS SAY NO TO MEETING CHIEF SECY
However, the farmers’ unions declined the administration’s proposal to fix their meeting with Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, as they were adamant on meeting chief minister Parkash Singh Badal only.
Meanwhile, the farmers have decided to intensify their agitation from Monday by holding dharnas for an indefinite period in front of offices of all deputy commissioners in the state.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said the agitation was not only for cotton farmers now, but also against the alleged exploitation of basmati growers at the hands of private exporters and the state government.
“If the government failed to accept their demands, we will block rail and road traffic in the coming days,” Kokri said.
The farmers are demanding a compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to cotton farmers for the crop damage and Rs 20,000 per acre to farm labourers.
The farmers are also demanding a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for a family member of Kuldeep Singh, 26, a farmer from Chughe Kalan village, who committed suicide during the protest on Thursday.
The farmers also demanded the registration of an abetment-of-suicide case against agriculture minister Tota Singh.
Ruldu Singh Mansa, state president of the Punjab Kisan Union, regretted the government’s apathetic attitude as it has failed to initiate any dialogue with the farmers in the past 10 days.
“Let them test our patience. We will sit here till our demands are fulfilled. Moreover, we have submitted a charter of our demands to the administration and told them that we will only talk to Punjab CM over this matter and none else,” said a farmer leader.
Meanwhile, the police remained on toes throughout the day to maintain law and order situation in the city.