September 11, 2021 1:22:03 pm
Eight farm labourer unions Friday reiterated that they will march to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s residence in Patiala and gherao it on September 13. They are demanding that no action be taken against farm labourers who have outstanding power bills and that the state power utility re-install the meters that had been removed.
The unions said they are carrying out meeting in villages to mobilise support for the Sept 13 protest. The unions say that the government backtracked on the promises it had made in a meeting with them.
Lachman Singh Sewewala, general secretary of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union (PKMU) said, “Before September 7 meeting, Cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra had conducted one more meeting on August 25 with us. Officials from the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited ( PSPCL) and Cooperative department were also present. They had assured us that no action will be taken against labourers with outstanding power bills and the electric meters, which had been removed by PSPCL due to non payment of bills, will be installed again. However, nothing of that sort happened. Instead, on September 9, the PSPCL removed the meter installed at the house of another fgarm labourer in Sangat block of Bathinda. A police complaint was also filed against him over his outstanding power bill of Rs 30,000. Farm unions gheraoed the PSPCL office and later the meter was re-installed. Police complaint too was taken back. We don’t trust the government. Our protest call at Moti Mahal stands as it is.”
On September 7, Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, Director, Rural Development and Panchayat, had held a meeting with various farm labour unions at Barnala where problems pertaining to allotment of 5 marlas of plots in rural areas and reservation of one-third area from village common land were discussed. Representatives of various rural farm unions had discussed the problems district-wise and village-wise.
Chhatwal had directed officials concerned to dispose of all the problems in a time bound manner, sais Sewewala.
Dihati Mazdoor Sabha Union state president Darshan Nahar said, “Our demand is for a complete debt waiver. We also want to become members of cooperative societies so that we can secure loans. Landless labourers should get a waiver of outstanding power bills.” The September 13 protest will also be supported by BKU Ugrahan, which will also arrange the langar, its sate vice-president Shingara Singh Mann said.
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