December 21, 2021 6:34:03 am
A WEEK after winding up dharnas at Delhi borders, farmers have shifted their protest to Punjab — this time, against the state government over pending demands. On Monday, BKU Ugrahan, the largest farmer union of Punjab, started day-night dharnas outside DC offices in 13 districts of Punjab from December 20-24.
Protests are to seek complete waiver of farm loans as promised by the Congress in their 2017 poll manifesto.
On the same day, Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) started indefinite rail roko at Devidaspura rail track in Amritsar with two-day ultimatum to increase the protest sites on rail tracks if the government does not come with any satisfactory reply.
The BKU Ugrahan organised dharnas outside DC offices of Ludhiana, Moga, Barnala, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Muktsar, Sangrur, Bathinda and Mansa districts. In Barnala, Harinder Kaur Bindu, vice-president of the party, addressed the protesters.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of the party, said, “The cotton belt of Malwa Punjab was hit by pink bollworm disease and (Charanjit Singh) Channi government had announced Rs 17,000 per acre compensation for farmers and 10% of the total announced compensation to farm labourers. However, till now this compensation has not even been disbursed to all the farmers, what to talk of farm labourers.
Cotton crop got damaged in September, announcement of compensation was made in mid-October and still disbursement has not been done fully.” Recently, CM Channi was at Mansa and he himself had stated that Rs 12,000 per acre compensation has been disbursed while the remaining amount will be disbursed soon. The other demands are Rs 3 lakh compensation to families where farmers committed suicides while all the farmers’ families have not been given Rs 5 lakh compensation each for the death of someone related to him at Delhi borders. Over 650 had died at Delhi borders but so far compensation and jobs have been given to nearly 450 only.
Saudagar Singh Ghudani, president of BKU Ugrahan, said, “Our langar is also being cooked at the dharna spots. We came with ration stock. We had lived at Delhi borders for a year and now we are used to such pakka dharnas. It seems that only dharnas can move a government.” Enhanced price announced for sugarcane crop at the rate of Rs 360 per quintal has also to be paid to sugarcane farmers. KMSC has similar issues due to which they started rail roko.
Meeting with farmers
Punjab CM has invited 32 farmer unions of Punjab for a meeting in Chandigarh on December 23. This meeting was earlier scheduled to happen on December 17 but was postponed. The unions will take up issues of waiver of farm loans and all the others raised by BKU Ugrahan and KMSC. However, the above- mentioned unions will not be part of the meeting on December 23.