Farmers block major highways, essential supplies hit

Bandh over bills Life paralysed across state I Markets wear deserted look I Public transport remains off road

Tribune News Service

Patiala/ Moga/Faridkot/Amritsar/Bathinda, Sept 25

A bandh call given by farm organisations over the three contentious farm Bills brought life to a standstill in Bathinda, Jalandhar, Patiala, Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Barnala, Faridkot, Muktsar, Mansa, Bathinda and other districts across the state today.

Ferozepur division suspends spl trains

  • The Ferozepur Railway Division suspended all special trains in Punjab, J&K and HP till Saturday as a precaution.
  • Barring an untoward incident near the Shambhu barrier where an Army convoy was stopped by some people, no major violence was reported.

The supply of essential commodities was badly hit and fruit and vegetable markets remained closed in all cities and towns of the Malwa belt. The other markets also did not open throughout the day.

 SAD leaders burn a tractor to protest farm Bills in Barnala.

Patiala and its surrounding towns observed a complete bandh following farmers protesting on roads and blocking all major state and national highways passing through it. Barring an untoward incident near the Shambhu barrier, where an Army convoy was stopped by some people, no major violence was reported.

Farmers held protests on many roads and highways throughout the day. All markets wore a deserted look for the entire day and only shops of essential commodities opened late evening.

In Bathinda and Mansa, shops in almost all areas remained closed. Farmers blocked the Bathinda-Zirakpur national highway at Rampura Phul, Bathinda-Amritsar national highway at the Kahniya chowk, and the Bathinda-Mansa road among others.

Buta Singh Burjgill of the BKU (Dakonda) said: “People have given us full support by voluntarily closing shops. This is a historic movement as state’s people have extended support to farmers over the issue”.

Punjabi singers Sidhu Moosewala, Amrit Mann, R Nait and Korala Mann joined farmers in Mansa.

In Nabha, Punjabi folk singers led by Harbhajan Mann announced they would continue the fight until the farmers got their due. Besides Mann, Tarsem Jassar, Ranjit Bawa, Kulwinder Billa and Harjit Harman extended their support to the farmers and staged a sit-in for hours. The public transport remained off road.

In Moga, farmers blocked the rail and road traffic on the national highway at Dagru village on the border of Moga and Ferozepur. All trains remained off the track. The Ferozepur Railway Division suspended all special trains in Punjab, J&K and HP till tomorrow as a precautionary measure.

Railway officials said the “rail roko” agitation had badly affected the transportation of foodgrains and other essential goods. In total, at least, 25 trains had been affected in the Ferozepur railway division. At Badhni Kalan, activists of at least 15 trade unions staged a protest and blocked the highway.

Almost all national and state highways in the Malwa belt were blocked by the protesters. The link roads were open.

In Faridkot, a complete bandh was observed. Almost all shops and commercial establishments remained closed in Faridkot, Kotkapura, Jaito towns. Various farmer organisations and political parties blocked the National Highway on the Amritsar-Bathinda road and farmers sat on the Faridkot-Ferozepur road.

In Amritsar, farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee continued their 'rail roko' protest for the second day by blocking train tracks near Devidas Pura village.

A complete shutdown was observed in the city which wore deserted looks and shops were closed. Showing solidarity with them, the SGPC shut down its offices and institutions for the day. SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal said the Centre should review this move and revoke it keeping in view the farmers’ cause at the ground level. Kar Sewa Baba Kashmir Singh Bhurewale arranged food for the farmers.


Expertspeak

Centre must allay fears

It is the responsibility of the Centre to remove all apprehensions that farmers may have. In a democracy, you can’t steamroll and change policies. The Centre must realise that this can destabilise Punjab. Let the policy makers initiate a dialogue with farmers. - Sardara Singh Johl, Economist & Padma Bhushan Awardee

Will have adverse impact

The very fact that 31 farmer unions have launched a joint protest speaks volumes about angst in farmers. Even Khet Mazdoor Union and Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee, that have otherwise been hostile towards farmers, have lent support. Centre must intervene or it may have adverse consequences for the entire country. - Prof Gian Singh, Farm Economist


Farmers will uproot Modi govt, says Yadav

Mansa: All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee coordinator Yogendra Yadav, while addressing farmers here, said if the farm Bills were not rolled back, farmers would “uproot Narendra Modi’s wicket”. “Punjab farmers have started a fight for second Independence. The first wicket fell in the shape of lone SAD minister quitting the Modi government. Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala will have follow suit soon.” TNS

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