‘Rail roko’ brings Punjab to halt for 4 hours, farmers to up ante : The Tribune India

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‘Rail roko’ brings Punjab to halt for 4 hours, farmers to up ante

‘Rail roko’ brings Punjab to halt for 4 hours, farmers to up ante

Activists of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-political) block rail tracks in Patiala district. Tribune photos: Rajesh Sachar & Malkiat Singh



Tribune reporters

Shambhu, March 10

Claiming that the ‘rail roko’ agitation was a success, the Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-political) have decided to up the ante and “continue with their protest at two border points” of Shambhu and Khanauri. Meanwhile, the two outfits will hold a crucial meeting on Monday to discuss strategy for the future course of action.

Members of the two unions, backed by other farmer organisations, today blocked rail traffic at more than 60 locations in Punjab. With active participation from youngsters and women, they blocked trains from 12 noon to 4 pm, causing much inconvenience to passengers across the state.

On the call given by the SKM and the Kisan Majdoor Morcha, the ‘rail roko’ agitation was organised across the country. In Punjab, five farmer unions, which are not part of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest at Shambhu and Khanauri borders, participated in the ‘rail roko’ programme. Members of the BKU (Ugrahan), one of the biggest unions of farmers from Punjab, the BKU (Dakaunda), the BKU (Malwa), the BKU (Doaba) and the Krantikari Kisan Union openly came out in support of the event by blocking trains at various locations.

Stranded passengers at the Jalandhar Cantonment Railway Station on Sunday.

In Shambhu, Rajpura, Patiala and Sirhind, hundreds of youngsters accompanied by elderly women were seen sitting on railway tracks. During the four-hour programme, agitators had their food on the tracks and raised slogans against the Centre.

Demands genuine, accept these

The government is forcing us to protest. Our demands are genuine and the government should accept these. We will not budge this time unless our demands get accepted. Dilbagh Singh Gill, Chief, Bhartiya Kisan Mazdoor Union

Let’s unite to emerge victorious

The farmers need to unite to force the Centre to accept our demands. All farm unions should participate in struggle to emerge victorious. Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Head, BKU (Ugrahan)

Protest has reached every corner

Today’s ‘rail roko’ programme has made it clear that the farmers’ protest has reached every corner of the country and farmers are united on all issues. Sarwan Singh Pandher, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee

Farmer union leaders said many trains were cancelled or diverted in different states. In Punjab, the agitation received a massive response. Members from various farmer unions blocked the railway tracks and gave a befitting reply to the Central Government.

“Today’s ‘rail roko’ programme has made it clear that the farmers’ protest has reached every corner of the country and the farmers of the country are united on all issues, including the MSP Guarantee Act, MSP as per the C 2+50 per cent formula of the Swaminathan Commission, loan waiver, etc,” said Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary, Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee. He added that they had announced train traffic disruptions almost a week ago so that commuters could make plans accordingly.

Farmer leaders said the future programmes would be announced by holding a meeting of the SKM (Non-political) and the Kisan Majdoor Morcha. “We will hold talks with various stakeholders. We will decide our future course of action tomorrow and inform everyone accordingly. As the Centre is not listening to our genuine demands and also preventing us from reaching Delhi, we are left with no option but to protest by blocking trains and national highways. Any inconvenience caused to the public is regretted,” said the union leaders.

In Ludhiana, farmers blocked railway tracks at Mullanpur Dakha, Samrala, Jagraon, Sanhewal, Kila Raipur and Ahmedgarh railway stations. Nine trains were cancelled which are Ferozepur-Bathinda, Bathinda-Ferozepur, Verka-Dera Baba Nanak, Dera Baba Nanak-Verka, Jalandhar City-Hoshiarpur, Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar City, Jalandhar City-Pathankot, Pathankot-Verka and Verka to Pathankot. Besides, 26 trains were regulated, eight were short-terminated and seven short-originated. Passengers had a difficult time to reach their destination due to disruption of train services.

In Jalandhar, farmers laid siege to the rail lines at the Cantt railway station. Two trains passing through the station were stopped by farmers, causing great inconvenience to passengers. The Delhi Amritsar Shatabdi and the Humsafar Special Express (Amritsar to Jay Nagar) both remained stranded at the Jalandhar railway station for three hours.

Farmers also briefly climbed atop the engines of one of the trains. At least five more trains to and from Jalandhar (and Lohian Khas) were cancelled or stalled due to the farmers’ dharna.

In Sangrur, BKU (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan stressed the need of unity among farmers to force the central government to accept their demands. He also said the demands of farmers were common so all should participate in the farmer struggle to emerge victorious. The farmers and laborers today stopped the trains at Rampura railway station in Bathinda.

On February 12, the last meeting was held between the agitating farmer unions and the three union ministers in Chandigarh. The talks between the two sides, lasting for over five hours, reached a deadlock as the Union ministers did not agree to the three main demands of farmers – a legal guarantee for MSP on all crops, MSP as per the Swaminathan Commission formula and debt waiver for farmers and farm labourers.

Crucial meeting of farmers today

The Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-political) have decided to up the ante and continue with the protest at the Shambhu and Khanauri borders. The two outfits will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the strategy and chalk out the next course of action

50 TRAINS AFFECTED IN FEROZEPUR DIVISION

Cancelled

  • The trains which were cancelled included Ferozepur-Bathinda Special Express (01612 and 01611), Dera Baba Nanak-Verka Express Special (06925 and 06926), Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur Express Special (06960 and 06955), Jalandhar-Pathankot DMU (06949) and Verka- Pathankot Express Special (06935).

Short-terminated

  • The eight trains which were short-terminated were Amritsar-New Delhi Swarna Shatabdi Express, Ludhiana-Ferozepur Express Special, Ferozepur Cantt-Fazilka DMU, Jakhal- Ferozepur Cantt Express, Khemkaran-Bhagtawala DMU, Ajmer- Amritsar Express, Ludhiana-Chhehrta MEMU and New Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab Express.

Short-originated

  • Seven short-originated trains were Amritsar-Ajmer Express, Amritsar-New Delhi Shan-e-Punjab Express, Chhehrata-Ludhiana MEMU, Ferozepur Cantt-Ludhiana DMU, Fazilka-Ferozepur Cantt DMU, Ferozepur Cantt-Jakhal Jind Express and Bhagtawala-Khemkaran DMU. Besides these trains, 26 trains were regulated.

(With inputs from Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Bathinda)

#Samyukt Kisan Morcha


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