The residents of Kokri Kalan and eight other villages staged a protest outside the district administration complex here on Thursday and opposed the state government's move to declare their villages a nagar panchayat.
The villagers gathered under the flag of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) and also met deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind and submitted a memorandum to him for rolling back the government decision regarding the nagar panchayat with immediate effect.
The angry villagers said in case the state government didn't stop the process immediately, they would start an agitation against the move.
Earlier, people raised slogans against the state government and burnt an effigy of the government at Kokri Kalan village.
Addressing the gathering at Moga, Sukhdev Singh Kokra Kalan, state general secretary of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), said more than 70% people are dependent on agriculture and others are labourers. "The residents of eight other villages, which will be part of the proposed nagar panchayat, too, earn their livelihood from agriculture. Why is the government bent on declaring Kokri Kalan a nagar panchayat? The government is trying to befool people,"he added.
The farmer leader alleged that the government's policies were meant for corporate houses, while the poor and middle-class people were suffering. "The Punjab government is playing a joke on the farmers and other downtrodden sections of society. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal are good only to the capitalists, while the poor people are forced to agitate for their basic rights,"said Kokri Kalan.
Varinder Kumar, senior leader of various social organisations, said the chief minister and deputy chief minister were trying to create a political atmosphere in favour of the SAD and were wooing the voters for the coming Parliamentary election. "But both the leaders do not know that the people are suffering and are getting ready to teach the government a lesson. We will go ahead with the struggle for stopping unnecessary decisions like nagar panchayats,"he added.
Gurmeet Singh Kishanpura, Paramjeet Singh Heir, Bagga Singh Kokri and Ajmer Singh, president of the cooperative society, also addressed the gathering.
When contacted, deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind said some prominent people of Kokri Kalan area met him on the issue of the nagar panchayat. "I have sent their grievances to the state government and the administration will act according to the order of the government,"the DC added.