Punjab farmers block roads, seek full debt waiver: ‘Keep your promise, Captain Amarinder’

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), BKU (Dakaunda), Kirti Sangharsh Committee, BKU (Krantikari) and Kirti Kisan Union were among the participants.

punjab Updated: Feb 08, 2018 11:03 IST
HT Correspondents and PTI
HT Correspondents and PTI
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh/Patiala/Sangrur 
Punjab farmers,farmers block roads,full waiver
Farmers raise slogans against the Punjab government while blocking a highway towards Sangrur on the outskirts of Patiala on Wednesday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT )

A group of farmers’ outfits on Wednesday blocked traffic at several places in Punjab over their demand for a complete debt waiver. The seven groups protested at Sunam, Dirba, Lehragaga, Malerkotla, Bhawanigarh in Sangrur, Patiala, Lehra Mohabbat in Bathinda, Gill Kalan in Moga, Barnala, Raikot and Fazilka.

Besides a complete waiver, the farmers have also been demanding Rs 10 lakh compensation and government jobs for the family of those farmers who committed suicide. The state government had recently announced a waiver in which crop loan up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers (up to 5 acres) was announced.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), BKU (Dakaunda), Kirti Sangharsh Committee, BKU (Krantikari) and Kirti Kisan Union were among the participants. The protesting farmers claimed that the police took more than three dozens of farmers into preventive custody at Rajpura in Fazilka and Talwandi Mange Khan in Ferozepur.

“The central government too has failed to make adequate policies to end the agrarian crisis in Punjab in its recent budget.” — Gubinder Singh, Sangrur block president of BKU (Ugrahan)

In Patiala, on the call of seven organisations, farmers blocked the national highway to Sangrur road near Passiana village for two hours. Traffic was diverted to other routes, and heavy security arrangements were made to restrict farmers’ movement towards Patiala, the home town of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Union leader Jagmohan Singh said, “The recentdebtrelief scheme is a joke played on thefarmersas most of the genuine beneficiaries are not on the lists, for reasons best known to the state government. Poor execution shows the government is conducting the entire exercise in haste.”

In the initial phase of the scheme that aims to cover more than 6 lakh farmers loans from state co-operative banks and societies have been covered.

He added that though the Congress government had promised to stop auction of lands of debt-ridden farmers, “Banks and commission agents continue to harass farmersand sell their land in an open auction. Moreover, there are many cases in which thefarmersare sent to jail in cheque-bounce cases.”

In Sangrur, traffic was blocked from 12 to 2pm.

“After the formation of Congress government, farmers and farm labourers are still committing suicides, but it has failed to provide any relief. The government should stop false propaganda against farmer unions that they misguide farmers. Instead, the government should start work on its poll promise,” said Gubinder Singh, Sangrur block president of BKU (Ugrahan).

He also decried the move to install power meters for tubewell connections (which get free supply of power).

“The central government too has failed to make adequate policies to end the agrarian crisis in Punjab in its recent budget,” he added.

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 11:03 IST