Sanjha Mazdoor Morcha, a joint platform of eight labour unions of Punjab, will stage a dharna on November 30 outside Dreamland colony in Sangrur where Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann has a rented accommodation.
Even as the AAP-led Punjab government argues that it came to power only eight months ago and needs time to fulfill its promises, protests outside the CM’s house refuse to die down. A majority of AAP ministers and even the CM is busy campaigning in Gujarat for the past one month for the state’s Assembly elections, Punjab has remained a hotbed of protests.
Zora Singh Nasrali, president of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) which is a part of Sanjha Mazdoor Morcha, said, “We had a few meetings with CM Bhagwant Mann, finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema and bureaucrats in the past but our last meeting with Mann was scheduled for October 3 but it was called off. And after that no date for meeting was announced. Officials gave us assurance but not in writing. Hence, we have no other choice but to protest outside the CM’s house.”
Mukesh Malaud, president of Zamin Prapti Sangrash Committee (ZPSC), said, “Our committee members had been sitting outside the deputy commissioner Patiala’s office for the past one week but our demands haven’t been met with. The AAP government keeps on saying that they are a government of farmers and labourers but then they ignore us.”
Nasrali added that that the government has agreed to make labourers members of cooperative societies and they can now take part in society elections. “This could have helped us in getting loans but it was only a verbal assurance and nothing nothing in writing came in this context. Without a written order, farm labourers cannot become members of village cooperative societies and hence they cannot get non-agricultural loans,” he said.
He added that the governement had also agreed to distribute 5 marla plots to poor SC families based on the available land but again it was not given in writing. “Dalit families should be given one third of panchayat land for farming instead dummy candidates are fielded by landlords. The Punjab government doesn’t seem serious in implementing the demands and so we have now decided to protest,” he said.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening officials of Sangrur administration met leaders of Sanjha Morcha but the latter said that they will go ahead with the protest.