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Farmers block Ferozepur Road for over 5 hours
Activists of farmers’ union block traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur road. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Farmers block Ferozepur Road for over 5 hours

23 Feb 2019 | 8:48 AM

LUDHIANA: Thousands of farmers protesting against the state government and various banks for the past five days blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur road, near zonal office of Punjab National Bank (PNB), on Friday.

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Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22

Thousands of farmers protesting against the state government and various banks for the past five days blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur road, near zonal office of Punjab National Bank (PNB), on Friday.

Earlier, farmers gathered at a ground near Ayali Chowk and took out a march till Rajguru Nagar Chowk where they sat on a dharna on the main Ferozepur road (NH-95) at around 2 pm. They continued their sit-in till 7:15 pm.

Farmers wanted to protest outside the PNB office, but the police had installed barricades to stop protesters at Rajguru Nagar Chowk. Farmers raised slogans against the Captain-led state government and banks during the protest.

After lifting dharna from the National Highway, farmers gathered again at a vacant land, near Ayali Chowk, to mark their protest in the evening.

“We have been staging protest for last five days against the state government for not listening to our demands. Various banks exploit farmers by taking double guarantee against loan amount. Farmers are forced to submit blank or filled cheques by these banks. Cheques taken from farmers are sent to banks located at faraway places. The government has waived off loans of farmers. Now, the government talks of giving some relief to farmers instead of waiving off loans,” said Joginder Singh, state president, Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta Ugrahan.

“We have ended dharna on the Ferozepur road so, public will not suffer any more. Now, we shifted our sit-in to a vacant land, near Ayali Chowk,” he added.

Another farmer Saudagar Singh said, “A farmer of Patiala district was arrested as his cheque bounced in Gujarat. This is harassment of farmers. The government should resolve our issues at the earliest.”

Heavy police force was deployed while traffic was diverted around two-hours before the protest started. However, farmers claimed that they don’t want to harass public, but were helpless as the government had turned a blind eye towards their demands.

Travellers at the receiving end

Traffic was diverted from Pakhowal Road, Aarti Chowk Barwal Chowk and other areas in the city. Long queues of vehicles stuck in traffic jams were witnessed at BRS Nagar, Rajguru Nagar, Sarabha Nagar and Tharike. Even passengers were seen struggling to find any source of public transport as the police barricaded ways to stop farmers from moving ahead at the Rajguru Nagar intersection.

“I reached Ayali Chowk, but could not find any bus or auto to reach bus stand. Such protests cause harassment to the public. The government should look into the matter,” said Jaspal Singh of Moga.

Meanwhile, residents of BRS Nagar and others areas were also harried a lot due to major traffic snarls. Residents of Rajuguru Nagar also suffered as farmers had blocked traffic on Thursday too.

“No protest should be staged by inconveniencing commuters. We are not against any protest, but it should be held in a democratic way. The government must look into genuine demands of farmers,” said Jasvir Singh, a resident.

Contempt of court

“The protesters can’t block roads. As per directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, unions cannot resort to activities, including blocking roads, which disrupt the life of general public in the name of agitation. If farmers stage protest by blocking roads, it is contempt of court orders,” said a senior police official.

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