Farmers’ agitation brings rail traffic to a halt : The Tribune India

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Farmers’ agitation brings rail traffic to a halt

Passengers face inconvenience as several trains held up at many places

Farmers’ agitation brings rail traffic to a halt

A farmer leader addresses protesters at Ahmedgarh railway station.

Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28

The rail traffic in the region went haywire and several trains were stuck at intermediary stations as farmers resorted to a three-day ‘rail roko agitation in support of their demands, including financial package for crop losses caused by floods, legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) and remission of all agricultural loans.

The decision to hold a three-day rail roko agitation, supported by several farmers’ bodies, from Thursday was announced by Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee after consultation with representatives of 19 farmers’ bodies.

As agitating farmers squatted on rail tracks at several places, including Moga, Jagraon, Phagwara. Three trains — 15707 Katihar-Amritsar Amrapali Express, 12331 Kolkata-Jammu Tawi Himgiri Express and 04625 Ludhiana-Firozepur Cantt were stopped by the railway authorities at Ludhiana.

While officials indicated that Himgiri Express might be allowed to proceed to its destination (Jammu Tawi) via an alternative route after the blockade was lifted, Amrapali Express was short-terminated at Ludhiana and was scheduled to short-originate also from Ludhiana at its scheduled time.

With most trains coming to a halt wherever these were as the farmers blocked the railway tracks, passengers on board the trains were a harassed lot. Particularly, those travelling with their family members, including women and children, had a miserable time, more so because the uncertainty over resumption of onward journey.

Senior railway officials said the situation was under constant review and after lifting of the blockade by farmers, restoration of rail services would be taken up as per operational possibilities.

Pandher said ‘rail roko’ was held at 12 places in Punjab’s Moga, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Patiala, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Amritsar railway stations.

The farmers’ bodies supporting the protest include the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Bharti Kisan Union (Krantikari), Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Azaad), Azaad Kisan Committee Doaba, Bharti Kisan Union (Behramke), Bharti Kisan Union (Shaheed Bhagat Singh), Bharti Kisan Union (Chottu Ram), Kisan Mahapanchayat (Haryana), Pagri Sambhal Jatta (Haryana), Progressive Farmer Front (Uttar Pradesh), Bhoomi Bachao Muhim (Uttarakhand) and the Rashtriya Kisan Sangathan (Himachal Pradesh). Senior officials of the Northern Railway said five trains had to be cancelled for the day, four diverted, nine were short-terminated/short-originated from Ludhiana while around six trains were delayed.

Cancelled trains

14674 Amritsar-Jaynagar Shaheed Express, 19612 Amritsar-Ajmer Express, 04592 Chheharta-Ludhiana, 14505 Amritsar-Nangal Dam Express and 18238 Amritsar-Bilaspur Chhattisgarh Express.

Trains short-terminated at/short-originated from Ldh

12498 Amritsar-New Delhi Shane-Punjab Express, 15707 Katihar-Amritsar Amrapali Express, 11057 CST (Mumbai)-Amritsar Dadar Express, 14617 Banmankhi-Amritsar Jansewa Express, 14673 Jaynagar-Amritsar Shaheed Express, 12317 Kolkata-Amritsar Express, 12407 Newjalpaiguri-Amritsar Express, 12925 Bandra terminus (Mumbai)-Amritsar Pashchim Express and 12032 Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi Express.

Trains arrived late

13005 Howrah-Amritsar Mail, 22705 Tirupati-Jammu Tawi Humsafar Express, 14673 Jaynagar-Amritsar Shaheed Express, 12407 Newjalpiguru-Amritsar, 12331 Howrah-Jammu Tawi Himgiri Express and 12459 New Delhi-Amritsar Intercity Express.

Various outfits join protest at Mandi Ahmedgarh

Office-bearers and activists of various outfits of farmers commenced their three-day agitation at the Ahmedgarh railway station on Thursday. Jagrup Singh Sandaur, Gurmel Singh Maholi Khurad and Sher Singh Maholi, office-bearers of various units of the Bharti Kisan Union Ekta (Azad) led the farmers protesting in support of their demands.

Speakers alleged that the Union and state governments, like their predecessors, had failed to comprehend problems of farmers. Financial package for losses caused by recent floods, legal guarantee for MSP (Minimum Support Price) and waiver of debt were among th major demands of the protesters.

As the protest is supposed to continue for three days, Malerkotla SSP Gursharandeep Singh Grewal and Ahmedgarh DSP Davinder Singh Sandhu are keeping a close watch on the situation.

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