Rail roko: Farmers up the ante, block Amritsar-New Delhi railway line

  • Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times, MUCHHAL (TANGRA)
  • Updated: Oct 07, 2015 21:56 IST
Farmers block the railway track near khalchia 28 kms from Amritsar on Wednesday during the protest against the central and Punjab government due to anti -farmer policies (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)

All the efforts of the administration to stop the farmers from starting a ‘rail roko’ failed, as thousands of farmers succeeded in blocking the Amritsar-New Delhi railway line by sitting on rail tracks near Muchhal, around 28 kilometers from Amritsar.

Even as, both, the administration and the police were keeping a close eye on the movement of protesters, in the afternoon farmers succeeded in blocking the rail track, disrupting the movement of trains between the Amritsar-New Delhi sector.

With eight farmer organisations getting together in this rail roko agitation, the farmer leaders announced that they would continue the protest on Thursday as well. Blaming, both, the state and the Union government for the plight of farmers and farm labourers in Punjab, the activists of various farmer organisations raised slogans against the Badal and the Modi regime.

The farmers, who are on warpath, have demanded better rates for basmati varieties -- 1121 and PUSA 1509. They have also demanded adequate compensation for the crops damaged due to poor weather. Waiver of loans and strict probe into the purchase of spurious pesticide is also on their agenda.

Farmer leader Pargat Singh said, “It is unfortunate that, both, the state and the Union government that came into power with lot of promise, have failed to deliver on farmer issues. Today, it is due to the negligent attitude of the government that farmers are forced to sit on roads,” he added.

“Today, Punjab farmers are forced to commit suicide but this government is unmoved by their poor state of affairs,” he added.

Notably, the farmers who are agitating across the state since past few days have demanded `4,500 per quintal for 1509 variety of basmati and `5000 for 1121.

On a question on how long this “rail roko” would continue, a farmer leader said, “We will hold a meeting on Thursday afternoon and then decide the future course.”

Trains disrupted, people feel the heat

As deadlock continues between the farmers and the government, it was the passengers who had to face the heat yet again.

As the “rail rook” started at around noon, the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi could not reach the Holy city and was stopped at Jalandhar. Moreover, the Katihar Express was stopped by farmers at the place of agitation.

Various trains could not reach Amritsar, whereas trains departing from Amritsar were routed through Tarn Taran.

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