A group of migrant labourers beat up two workers employed with local arhtiyas at the Khanna grain market on Monday. Around 9 am,hundreds of migrant labourers declared a strike and refused to lift packed grain,as they had not been informed how much they would be paid for lifting the bags. During this,when the striking labourers saw two of their colleagues Jatinder Kumar and Bhinder Kumar loading their trucks with packed grains,they were attacked.
Ram Asare,the leader of the labourer union,said: While procurement has begun,we have not been told what we would be paid for for lifting the bags. Our demand is that we should be paid Re 1 per bag,but the labour contractor claims that he will pay us 70 per bag.
Asked about the two labourers being beaten up,Asre said: This is not true,the munshis first instigated the labourers.
Jatinder Kumar,however,claimed: I was counting the bags and testing the moisture when I saw this huge mob coming towards me. I ran towards my shop but they beat me up and vanadalised my shop.
These labourers suddenly went violent. Before I could react,they started beating me up. They threw the bags from the trucks that we had loaded, said Bhinder Kumar.
Later in the afternoon,with the labourers apologising to the two and the contractors assuring that they would look into revising rates,a compromise was reached.
Meanwhile,a sudden change in the weather on Monday,as a result of Kashmir witnessing snowfall,has spread panic among farmers who are yet to harvest their paddy.
Kamaljeet Singh,a farmer from Khanna,said: The cool weather is delaying the drying of paddy. We are being forced to delay the bringing the crop into the mandi as no one will be buy paddy with high moisture content.