Mohali: Commuters heave sigh of relief as farmers end stir - Hindustan Times

Mohali: Commuters heave sigh of relief as farmers end stir

By, Mohali
Nov 29, 2023 08:40 AM IST

Farmers start leaving from Chandigarh-Mohali border and Panchkula’s Sector 5 after meetings with Punjab and Haryana governors

Commuters, who had been facing hardship since Saturday due to the massive 2-km blockade by farmers on the Chandigarh-Mohali border, breathed easy on Tuesday after the protesters ended their stir following two separate meetings with the Punjab governor and agriculture minister.

Workers lifting the rugs placed by protesters after they lifted the blockade near Phase 11 on the Chandigarh-Mohali border on Tuesday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Workers lifting the rugs placed by protesters after they lifted the blockade near Phase 11 on the Chandigarh-Mohali border on Tuesday. (Keshav Singh/HT)

A similar sit-in was also being organised at Panchkula’s Sector 5 that was also lifted after a delegation of farmers met the Haryana governor.

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While lifting both blockades, the farmers warned the central government of intensifying the protest if their demands were not met.

With this, police initiated work to resume traffic on the crucial stretch from Faidan barrier (along Chandigarh’s Sector 48) till Bawa White House light point (near Mohali’s Phase 11), leading towards the airport.

While majority of the around 13,000 protesters had left the site at the time of filing of this report, some 500-odd protesters, still present with around 60 tractor trolleys, are expected to depart by Wednesday.

Since Saturday, in view of the three-day protest call by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, police had installed barricades till IISER light point, impeding inter-city traffic movement, especially towards the airport.

An umbrella body of 32 farmer unions, the morcha had called the protest to press the Centre and state governments to accept their pending demands including a legal guarantee for MSP.

Protesters also demanded cancellation of FIRs registered against farmers for stubble burning, besides cases registered by the Delhi and Chandigarh Police during previous agitations held by farmers.

Farmers are also seeking loan waivers, crop insurance, increase in compensation for crop damage due to natural calamity, increase in sugarcane price, compensation to farmers who died during previous agitations and justice for Lakhimpur Kheri victims.

Meeting with Punjab CM on December 19

In Chandigarh, a 25-member delegation of farmer leaders initially met Punjab agriculture minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian at Punjab Bhawan in Sector 3, where they were assured of a detailed meeting with Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on December 19.

The delegation further met Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit at Punjab Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum of their demands.

“The governor assured us of conveying our demands to the central government. If they are not fulfilled, we will hold a nationwide protest pertaining to our demands regarding MSP and loan waiver,” said farmer leader Harinder Singh Lakhowal.

In Panchkula, another 21-member delegation of SKM as well as trade unions met Haryana governor Bandaru Dattatreya and submitted a memorandum.

Farmer leader Suresh Koth said the governor assured them of talking to the central as well as state governments regarding their demands.

He said SKM will wait until December 11 for the central government to take a call on their demands, following which a meeting will be held in Hisar to decide the further course of action.

During the meeting, issues of trade unions were also taken up, along with concerns of Aganwadi workers.

Shopkeepers rue losses

While forcing commuters to take long detours, the blockade on the Chandigarh-Mohali border also hit the business of traders in adjoining Phase 11 market.

Malkeet Singh, who runs a tyre alignment shop in Phase 11, said there was little to no business over the past two days as farmers parked their heavy vehicles inside the market, blocking access to customers.

Naresh Kumar, a local resident, complained that farmers also used loud speakers, not only at the protest site but also within the market and residential areas, causing them sleepless nights.

Farmers’ demand charter

From state government

1) Compensation and jobs to the kin of farmers who died during the Delhi protest in 2020-21

2) Increase in compensation for crop damage

3) Cancellation of FIRs against farmers, including those for stubble burning

4) Loan waiver and one-time settlement scheme

5) Increase in sugarcane price

6) Increase in compensation for land acquired along highways

7) MSP for basmati rice and moongi dal as promised by state government

From Union government

1) Cancellation of FIRs registered against farmers in Delhi and Chandigarh

2) Legal guarantee for MSP on all crops

3) Waiver of loans availed of by farmers under central schemes

4) Halt on installations of prepaid electricity meters

5) 10,000 pension for farmers aged over 60

6) Justice for Lakhimpur Kheri victims.

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