After govt assurance, cane farmers lift NH blockade at Phagwara

PHAGWARA: Ending the two-day stalemate, protesting sugarcane growers lifted a blockade from the national highway in Phagwara after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh met owners of private sugar mills in Chandigarh and said a settlement has been reached.

amansharma@tribunemail.com

Ashok Kaura
Phagwara, December 5 

Ending the two-day stalemate, protesting sugarcane growers lifted a blockade from the national highway in Phagwara after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh met owners of private sugar mills and said a settlement has been reached.

Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Tayab along with Senior Superintendent of the Police Satinder Singh went to dharna site near Konica Resorts and gave details of the decision and appealed to the protesters to lift the dharna. 

The appeal was accepted by the agitating cane growers who announced to lift the dharna to restore normal vehicular traffic on NH between Phagwara and Jalandhar at 6.32 pm on Wednesday.

Farmer leader Jangveer Singh Chauhan, who was leading the protest by cane growers at Dasuya, said they also have lifted the dharna as their demands have been met. Farmers who were holding a dharna at Mukerian also called off their protest.

Earlier, vehicular traffic between Phagwara and Jalandhar on the national highway remained suspended for the second day on Wednesday, giving a tough time to thousands of commuters.

The protesters were demanding release of the arrears to the tune of Rs 417 crore for sugarcane immediately and increase in the rate of sugarcane from Rs 310 to Rs 350 per qunital. 

Blockades were organised by seven farmer organisations, led by Lok Bhalai Insaaf Welfare Society, near Konica Resorts on the national highway in Phagwara . 

Even the international Indo-Pak buses — from both sides — could not ply through Kartarpur-Kapurthala-Nakodar-Phillaur-Ludhiana-Delhi road. They were diverted to alternative route. While traffic from Ludhiana to Jalandhar was diverted via Phillaur-Bilga-Nakodar-Jalandhar, vehicles intended to take Phagwara to Jalandhar route were diverted via link roads through several villages.

The sugarcane growers held a dharna in front of Phagwara Sugar Mills initially and blocked the highway on Tuesday evening. No vehicles, except ambulances, were allowed to pass.

Lok Bhalai Insaaf Welfare Society president Baldev Singh Sirsa, farmer leaders Kulwant Singh Sandhu and Satnam Singh Sahni earlier said the sugarcane farmers had no intention of causing inconvenience to public but the state government was evasive on their genuine demands. 

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