Farmers’ agitation: Traffic on Ludhiana-Ferozepur Highway comes to halt

Published on Jul 31, 2022 10:49 PM IST

Serpentine queues of vehicles were witnessed as members of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) laid siege to the Ludhiana-Ferozepur Highway near Mullanpur from 11am to 3pm as part of the state-wide agitation against the Union government on Sunday

Farmers under the banner of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) protesting against the Union government on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur Highway on Sunday. (HT Photo)
Farmers under the banner of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) protesting against the Union government on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur Highway on Sunday. (HT Photo)
ByHarsimran Singh Batra and Nikhil Sharma, Ludhiana

Serpentine queues of vehicles were witnessed as members of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) laid siege to the Ludhiana-Ferozepur Highway near Mullanpur from 11am to 3pm as part of the state-wide agitation against the Union government on Sunday.

Farmers’ unions under the umbrella of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) were protesting across Punjab demanding fulfilment of pending demands including implementation of minimum support price (MSP) for crops, cancellation of FIRs lodged against farmers during Delhi agitation and justice for farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri mishap.

Multiple diversions were created through villages along the highway for two wheelers and cars and heavy police was deployed on the spot. But, a number of heavy vehicles, including trucks and buses got stranded.

While farmers stated that they were forced to protest due to negligent behaviour of the government, commuters said the public should not face harassment in their fight with the government.

Gurvir Singh, a passenger of a bus which was stuck on the highway, said, “ I boarded the bus from Rajpura for Ferozepur. I was not aware of the farmer agitation and would have avoided travelling had I known.”

A bus conductor, Manpreet, said cars could move through the villages, but it is not possible for heavy vehicles due to narrow roads. “ Some of the passengers also argued with us, but there is nothing we can do,” he said.

BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) leaders Sudagar Singh Ghudani and Gurpreet Singh said farmers have been forced to protest as their demands have still not been fulfilled by the Union government. “ We will continue the agitation after SKM chalks out a further action plan,” said Gurpreet.

Major disruption in rail traffic too

Railway traffic across the state saw major disruption after farmers blocked the tracks at various locations from 11 am to 3pm in response to the rail roko call by Samyukt Kisan Morcha.

Railway authorities said trains were mainly affected on the Delhi-Amritsar rail route. The Ferozepur division of Northern Railways cancelled five trains, rescheduled eight and short-terminated two trains. Five passenger trains also remained stranded at the Ludhiana station for around two to three hours. Movement of trains resumed around 3.28 pm.

According to the Government Railway Police (GRP) officials in Ludhiana, protesters blocked railway tracks at numerous places including Goraya, Phillaur, Mullanpur Dakha, Mandi Ahmedgarh and Jagraon, resulting in harassment for passengers who had to either wait for hours or take other public transport to reach their destination despite having rail tickets reserved.

“Around 500 farmers across Ludhiana blocked the tracks from 11 am to 3 pm. The protest was peaceful, but resulted in harassment for passengers,” said a senior GRP officer.

Police distribute snacks

Ludhiana police along with members of city-based NGO Samvedna served langar along with snacks and tea to the stranded passengers at the railway station. Joint commissioner of police Narinder Bhargav also participated in the distribution process.

“I had to reach Amritsar for urgent work but my train got stuck here for more than three hours due to which I will have to extend my stay. However, I am grateful to police for serving food and water to all passengers”, said Manish Kumar.

GRP deputy superintendent of police Balram Rana said railways had prior information about the protest and thus adequate security arrangements were made.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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