As many as 32 trains passing through Punjab were cancelled while several others were delayed or diverted as eight farmer bodies started their two-day rail blockade on Wednesday.
Protesters are up in arms against the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the SAD-BJP government , which has been accused of paying inadequate compensation for the widespread loss of cotton crop in the state. Thousands of farmers blocked rail lines leading to the national capital from the state. While the Ferozepur railway division reported cancellation of 23 trains, nine trains of the Ambala division were cancelled. While protesters blocked tracks at various places in Bathinda and Amritsar, disrupting rail traffic and causing inconvenience to passengers, heavy police deployment resulted in curtailed protests in other areas.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters were rounded up by police.
Farmers are demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for loss to their cotton crop. They are also seeking Rs 4,500 MSP per quintal for 1509 basmati variety and Rs 5,000 for the 1121 variety, waiver of debts and additional relief package of Rs 5 lakh to economically weaker families.
Attempt to block traffic foiled
Patiala: Police foiled the attempt of farm organisations to block rail network connecting to the state capital. Police took into custody protesting farmers and union leaders before they could stage a protest. Farmers who rushed to the local gurdwara were also taken into custody.
Admn’s efforts fail
Amritsar: Efforts of the administration to stop farmers from starting the rail roko failed as thousands of farmers succeeded in blocking the Amritsar-New Delhi line at Muchhal, 28 km from Amritsar. In the afternoon, farmers blocked the track again.
Cops mute spectators
Bathinda: Despite deployment of heavy police personnel at railway stations across Malwa, the police remained ineffective in restricting farmers from blocking traffic. In Bathinda district, farmers laid siege to three railway tracks. The protesters sat on Bathinda-Ambala railway track at Rampura town and blocked Bathinda-Bikaner rail track at Pathrala village in Bathinda.
Farmers also blocked the Bathinda-Mansa-Delhi railway track at Shergarh village. In Moga, farmers blocked the Ludhiana-Moga railway track at Dagru village.
Barnala: Farmers started their rail roko from Khudi Khurd village. Manjit Singh Dhaner, vicepresident of BKU, Dakonda, said, “Initially, police detained 150 protesters of different farmer outfits at Khudi Khurd village. When farmers tried to block a road at Cheema village, police detained around 200 farmers.”