Traffic came to a standstill and commuters faced inconvenience for about two hours after farmers blocked the Delhi-Jalandhar national highway-1 in protest of the "biased approach" of the Central and state government purchasing agencies for their selective approach in buying the produce on Monday.
Led by local Congress member of legislative assembly Kuljit Singh Nagra, hundreds of farmers alleged the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had been purchasing wheat only from some selected arhtias whose names were recommended by the local chairman of the marketing committee, allegedly acting on the direction of some politicians of the area.
Police had a tough time controlling the traffic situation on both sides of the GT road. The farmers called off the protest only after superintendent of police Daljit Singh Rana assured them that the purchasing agencies would be directed to work without any bias.
Nagra said, "These purchasing agencies have been citing that they were unable to buy produce as the state government has not provided enough bardana (gunny bags) to stack the produce."
He added no state purchasing agencies had come forward to purchase the crop of farmers camping the local grain market for the past one week.
Standing crop in 12.5acres of land gutted in fire
The standing wheat crop of three farmers - spread in over 12.5 acre area - was gutted in fire in Talania village. One of the farmers, Baljit Singh, who suffered maximum loss in his 6.5 acres of land, said the fire started at about 9.30am due to sparking in a transformer. He added the fire spread like a wildfire owing to the high velocity wind in the region.
About 15 to 20 tractors were rushed to douse the fire. A fire tenders each from Sirhind and Mandi Gobindgarh also arrived on the spot.