Punjab peasants block rail traffic against ‘anti-farmer policies’
Punjab is bracing for trouble with farmer groups planning to block rail traffic at several places for two days from October 7 to protest against the state government’s “anti-farmer” policies, prompting railways to cancel and divert several trains. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has appealed to them not to go ahead with the protest.punjab Updated: Oct 07, 2015 16:16 IST
Rail services were hit at several places in Punjab with farmers’ outfits starting their two-day ‘Rail Roko’ agitation from Wednesday in protest against SAD-BJP government’s “anti-farmer” policies, prompting railways to cancel and divert several trains.
“As many as six trains have been stopped by protesting farmers at different places in Punjab, causing inconvenience to passengers,” railway officials said on Wednesday.
The protesters have so far stopped six trains including Amarpali Express (15707), Delhi Sarai-Ferozpur Cant intercity (14625), Rewari-Fazilka passenger train (54784) at different rail tracks such as Ludhiana-Ferozepur, Lohian-Phillaur, Bathinda-Ferozepur, they said.
Railway tracks in Muchhal village near Amritsar were blocked by farmers.
Gate no.33 near Nurmahal village under Nakodar section in Jalandhar district was also blocked, while agitation at railway station of village Chand Bhan led to blockage of Ferozepur-Bathinda train route.
Meanwhile, protest by farmers at Jhoke Tehal Singh Wala railway station caused traffic blockage at Ferozepur-Fazilka track.
Protesters blocked Muktsar-Bariwala rail route at village Bariwala while Gate No. A-62 between Ferozepur and Ludhiana led to traffic blockage on the route.
In the wake of the agitation, railway authorities deployed senior staff in Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Fazilka for faster implementation of decision such as train diversion to minimise the impact of agitation.
As part of their plan to intensify their agitation, eight farmers’ organisations, including BKU Ekta (Dakunda), BKU Ekta(Ugrahan), BKU (Krantikari), Kirti Kisan Union will disrupt train movements for two days in the state.
As many as 12 trains will be diverted on October 9, including Amritsar-Bilaspur Express, Amritsar-Nanded Express,Kalka-Shirdi Express, Chandigarh-Madurai Express, Jammu Tawi-Madras Express and Bilaspur-Amritsar Express.
Farmers in Punjab have been demanding Rs 40,000 per acre compensation for those whose crop got damaged by white-fly attack, Rs 20,000 per family compensation for farm labour, Rs 4,500 per quintal rate for basmati PUSA 1509 variety, and Rs 5,000 per quintal for basmati PUSA 1121 variety.
They have been also demanding higher compensation for cotton growers and remunerative rates for basmati crop.
Besides, they are seeking payments of sugarcane dues by private mills, debt relief and Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to the family of farmers who commit suicide.
Earlier, farmers had planned to disrupt rail services at about 12 places including Rampura in Bathinda, Mansa, Sunam in Sangrur, Moga, Beas, Phillaur in Jalandhar, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Patiala.