A number of farmers' organisations and labour unions of Punjab will hold up rail traffic on March 6 in protest against the union budget, which they feel has failed to provide any relief to the agriculture sector and the labour class.
The 'rail roko' protest will be held from noon to 3 pm. The main organisations participating in the protest include the Kisan Sangarsh Committee, the Jamuhri Kisan Sabha, the Border Area Kisan Sangarsh Committee, the Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, the Pendu Mazdoor Kisan Sabha Committee and various other groups. They will also protest against the railway budget as they feel that the hike in freight charges will ultimately hit the common man.
Giving this information here on Sunday, prominent kisan leader Rattan Singh Randhawa said the union budget would make life more difficult for small and medium farmers and the labour class. Budgets are only for the rich and the industrial class, not for the poor and the farming community, he said.
"The input costs of farmers have gone up manifold, subsidies are being withdrawn while the minimum support price (MSP) of foodgrains increases by just a couple of rupees every year. The government refuses to link MSP with the price index," Randhawa said.
The kisan leader said the claims that the budget would bring down inflation were hollow as never had a budget ever brought down prices. With rail freight charges increasing, the prices of essential commodities will go up, burdening the common man, he added.
Pensioners protest budget
A meeting of the Punjab Pensioners' Association held here criticised the union budget and said that no relief had been provided to the common man. The association was critical of the Rs. 1.40 per litre hike in petrol prices. The meeting also chalked out its programme for holding statewide elections to the association. The meeting was chaired by district president Germanjit Singh Baath.