M A I N   N E W S

Farmers bring rail traffic to a halt
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 28
Agitating farmers of the Bharti Kisan Union — Ekta (Ugrahan faction) and the Kisan Sangharsh Committee today blocked rail traffic in the city for five hours in protest against the failure of the government to concede their “genuine” demands.

The farmers marched to the railway station from The Mall where they have been sitting on dharna since the past one week. They sat on the railway track near the station due to which rail traffic on the Bathinda-Patiala-Ambala route was bought to a halt.

Both Dadar trains coming from Bathinda and Amritsar were delayed by more than five hours due to the dharna. Besides, three passenger trains and a goods train were also delayed. The dharna was lifted after 5.30 p.m. following which rail traffic was restored.

Kisan leaders, including Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan of the BKU (Ekta) and Mr Kamaljit Singh Pannu of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee said it was unfortunate that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had not found time to meet them despite an assurance in this regard by Cabinet Minister Gurchet Singh Bhullar. The leaders said both the Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and Mr Bhullar had made promises in this regard to representatives of the farmers.

The leaders said in case the government continued its present policy of trying to “tire out” the farmers, they would be forced to intensify their agitation. They said though initially the dharna in front of the PSEB headquarters on The Mall here was scheduled to end on February 29, yet in case there was no assurance from the government on the demands of the farmers, the agitation could be extended.

The farmers are demanding that the Congress government fulfil the promise of providing free power to the agricultural sector, Rs 30 bonus per quintal as promised before the election for the paddy which had been affected due to inclement weather, take back the decision to privatise the state electricity board and reduce the per horsepower charge on load for new agricultural connections.


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