Amritsar, September 28
The three-day rail roko protest by the farmers union over the issue of special package for flood victims and legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) began here today with the farmers squatting on the rail tracks at Devidaspura village near Mannawala here on Thursday.
The protest caused undue inconvenience to passengers, including children and young and old, many trains had to be cancelled. As the farmer unions seem adamant to continue with their protest till September 30, passengers are surely going to suffer a lot.
Leading the protest in Majha area, Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, said, “We regret the inconvenience being caused to commuters. We had given a notice in this regard nearly a month ago. It is the government which has forced us to sit on the railway tracks.”
Pandher said, “Thousands of people have lost their homes and crops due to the floods, but the Central Government has not released any relief package for their help. Even the state government has announced a compensation of Rs 6,800 per acre which is nothing. The farmers who have lost their crops must be paid a compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre.”
Ranjit Singh Kalerbala, district president, KMSC, said, “The farmers are being pushed into a debt trap as they are not being paid remunerative prices for their produce. At the time of the protest at Delhi borders, the Central Government had in principle agreed to provide a legal guarantee for MSP which has not been done so far.” He said the government had not quashed the cases registered against the farmers during the agitation against the three farm bills.
Farmer leader Jarmanjit Singh said, “Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra has still not been sacked from the Cabinet. All these demands were accepted by the government after which the farmer unions had ended their protest.” He said the protest would be extended if the government failed to initiate talks with the farmers.
The ‘rail roko’ protest call had been given by 19 farmer unions from the North.
In Punjab, the ‘rail roko’ protests started at 17 places.
Tarn Taran: On the first day of the three-day ‘rail roko’ protest, a large number of farmers under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, started a dharna on railway tracks here on Thursday.
Harpreet Singh and Harjinder Singh Shakri, leaders of the committee, while addressing a gatherings of farmers condemned the Centre and the state government for their alleged anti-farmer policies. The leaders said the Union Government had failed to fulfil the demands accepted during the protests at Delhi borders.
They demanded legal guarantee for MSP for all crops. They also laid stress on the strengthening of the riverbanks to prevent a breach of embankments by the flood waters. They demanded Rs 50,000 per acre as compensation for the damaged crops. They also demanded a waiver of the whole debt of the farmers and labourers, 200 days’ work for the MGNREGA workers in a year, giving them right of mining in their own land, withdrawal of the chip meters scheme, etc.
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