Train services hit as farmers' protest enters second day in Punjab
The farmers want a Rs 50,000-crore flood relief package for north Indian states and MSP as per the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission report
Train services were hit in Punjab for a second day on Friday (September 29) as hundreds of farmers squatted on tracks during a 'rail roko' protest to seek a financial package for losses incurred in recent floods, a legal guarantee to MSP and a sweeping debt waiver.
According to railway officials, while some trains were cancelled, the routes of several trains were diverted. Some trains were terminated ahead of their destination due to the three-day stir.
The protesters said they will continue their protest against the Centre till September 30.
At least 17 places in Punjab, including Moga, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Patiala, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Amritsar, have been affected.
In Amritsar, farmers sat on the Amritsar-Delhi railway track at Devidas Pura. In Hoshiarpur, members of the Azad Kisan Committee, Doaba, staged a sit-in protest at the local railway station.
The Punjab President of the Azad Kisan Committee, Harpal Singh Sangha, warned that if their demands are not met in three days, the next course of action will follow.
The protest has left many train passengers stranded in Punjab and Haryana.
“The matter is between the Centre and the farmers. Why should passengers face harassment? Since yesterday, we have been waiting at the railway station but there is no surety when our train will come," said an elderly man at the railway station in Ludhiana.
On Thursday night, hundreds of railway passengers travelling to various destinations, including Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, were stranded at the Ambala Cantonment station in Haryana as train services were hit in Punjab.
Several groups including the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Bharti Kisan Union (Krantikari), BKU (Ekta Azaad), Azaad Kisan Committee Doaba, BKU (Behramke), BKU (Shaheed Bhagat Singh) and BKU (Chottu Ram) are participating in the protest.
The farmers want a Rs 50,000-crore flood relief package for north Indian states and MSP as per the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission report, farmer leader Gurbachan Singh said in Amritsar.
He also sought a waiver of the entire debt of farmers and labourers, and Rs 10 lakh and a government job in compensation to the kin of each farmer who died during the agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws.
(With agency inputs)