Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, August 19
Commuters from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Pathankot and other adjoining areas, who are to shuttle across Jalandhar-Phagwara stretch of NH-1 in Dhanowali by road or rail, are likely to face a huge bottleneck on Friday as the farmers are set to block the passage indefinitely.
Tough time for commuters?
We will try to ensure that the commuters face the least harassment. We have ensured a proper deployment of staff to guide the commuters on the alternate routes and ensure smooth flow of traffic. — Jagmohan Singh, DCP (law and order)
The call for bandh had been announced yesterday by the Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee over the issue of pending dues of sugarcane from the mills and no enhancement in the State Agreed Price (SAP) of sugarcane for the past four years. Though the state government announced to hike the SAP by Rs 15 per quintal today, it has further agitated the farmers.
“The government has played a cruel joke with us. By announcing a meagre Rs 15 per quintal hike, they have ridiculed us. The state government did not have any one of us for representation during finalising this amount. We were expecting the SAP on sugarcane to be hiked to Rs 370 from the existing price of Rs 295 to 310 (varying according to variety). Haryana is already offering Rs 358 per quintal,” fumed Manjit Rai, president, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Doaba).
He added: “We will now have an intensified protest. We had plans to block only the road, but now we will also block the rail passage. Also, all 32 farmer unions of Punjab have offered us support. Our protest tomorrow at the site may have more than 30K farmers and it will go on indefinitely till all our demands are met to our satisfaction. We will also have our meeting at the site tomorrow morning and we may jam the entire state”.
The Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee chooses the site at Dhannowali strategically as the NH and the railway crossing here are very close by and both the dharnas can be managed simultaneously. In the past few years, whenever the farmers announce to hold a protest here, the response remains massive and the dharna goes on for hours and even gets extended to the next day.
Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said the police authorities had been directed to make proper security arrangements. The city police have planned diversions to ensure that the public does not suffer much. The diversions have been planned via Pathankot Chowk to Rama Mandi, from Partappura side for those coming via Nakodar Chowk, and via Cantt Road to Phagwara.
DCP (law and order) Jagmohan Singh said: “We will try to ensure that the commuters face the least harassment. We have ensured a proper deployment of staff to guide the commuters on the alternate routes and ensure smooth flow of traffic.”
About the plans of the farmers to block rail traffic too, he said: “It will be too early to comment on that. The farmers may not go to that extent.”
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