Protesting farmers on Wednesday started a fresh morcha against storage house of a corporate firm in Ferozepur. The latest dharna comes two day after a telephone exchange run by a private operator was locked up in Sangrur on Monday. Farmers Wednesday said that despite Centre using “Railways as a tool” to arm-twist them, their protests across the state would only get intensified in days to come.
Railways has suspended goods trains services in Punjab due to the ongoing protests despite farmers easing the track blockade for freight services.
But despite this farmer unions in Punjab have not decided to lift their protest dharnas even from a single place out of the 85 spots where they are currently underway. In fact, new protest sites are being added to list with each passing day.
“Our fresh morcha has started outside a storage house in Ferozepur, we are aware of step motherly treatment by Centre government in which railways is a tool, but we will continue to protest the way we are doing,” said Buta Singh Burjgill, President of BKU (Dakaunda), who is leading dharna at the storage house in Ferozepur.
BKU (Ugrahan) alone is continuing with dharnas at 62 places which include 38 petrol pumps of private companies, 10 toll plazas, three shopping malls — one each at Bathinda, Amritsar and Fazilka.
“Daily we go and sit outside houses of 9 BJP leaders in Malwa districts for 3-4 hours, hence our protests are going on as normal, we have not relented even a bit though Centre is trying hard by stopping trains in Punjab,” said Harinder Kaur Bindu, vice-president, BKU(Ugrahan).
Meanwhile, Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU (Dakaunda) said, “As per railway’s protocol, they cannot stop essential services if tracks are clear…Such a pick and choose decision is beyond our understanding.”
Industry extends support to farmers
A day after issuing appeals to farmers, state and Centre to get goods trains back on track, major industrial associations of Punjab Wednesday extended their support to farmers’ struggle.
A meeting of Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) and Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) was held in Ludhiana with Balbir Singh Rajewal, president, Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal) and member, All India Kisan Morcha. Both sides discussed the stoppage of rail movement.
In a statement, Upkar Singh Ahuja, president CICU and SC Ralhan, former president of FIEO, said,” Industrialists from Punjab represented by FIEO and CICU support the demands of farmers and also request Government of India to lend all type of support to the Industry which is already reeling in depression. Government should start the goods trains service immediately so that import and export can be started without any further delay. The stoppage of goods trains has hampered trade and there is loss of more than Rs 1500 crore in last one month.”
Ahuja added, “Government of India should not be adamant.”
Ralhan said, “The leaders of farmer organisations have taken a stand against the government policy which is not in the interest of the farmers. But the leaders have clearly stated to the Centre and Railway Ministry not to discontinue goods trains.”
Balbir Singh Rajewal, president, Bharti Kisan Union said,”Farmer union have already withdrawn dharnas from railway tracks and are putting the agitation on platforms only. So, it’s wrong to put the blame on union leaders. The government has stopped goods train services just to put blame on farmers so as to affect their agitation and to create differences with industrial community. We stand united with industrialists and appreciate that they are concerned about our genuine demands.”
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