Eight passenger trains cancelled,13 others delayed; farmers seeking free power for agriculture labour
Demonstrations and rail roko agitation by farmers and Khet Mazdoor Unions near Jagraon and Phillaur on Saturday resulted in the cancellation of 8 passenger trains and delay of 13 more.
The farmer bodies blocked the rail lines of Ludhiana – Ferozepur rail link,Ludhiana to Jalandhar rail link. Passengers were harassed as 8 trains on these routes were canceled on Saturday. The dharna continued from 1 pm to 4 pm due to which 6 mail express and 12 passenger trains ran behind schedule as well,confirmed rail authorities.
At Phillaur – the Pendu Khet Mazdoor Union,Jamhuri Kisan Sabha and few others sat on a dharna seeking free power for agriculture labour. In Jagraon similar agitations took place under the banner of Bharti Kisan Union and others,but their main issue was to get justice for farmers who are being forced to give up their land for the Gobindpura power plant project.
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan,one of the speakers said,There are many anomalies in this project,many farmers are being forced to give up their land. The project does not have clearances from the Pollution Control Board,Electricity Regulatory Commission and much more.
Farmers also rued the hike in prices of Diammonium Phosphate (a fertiliser) because the Central government has linked its pricing to international market prices.
Hardev Sandhu and Darshan Koohli said,The state government is not getting the survey done to study farmer suicides and is wasting money on sports tournaments. This survey would cost Rs 85 lakhs,but is has not been done till date. State government wants to give Rs 2 lakh per farmer suicide while we demand Rs 5 lakhs as compensation.
They added,We had got a survey done from Sangrur and Bhatinda on our own and 3,000 suicide cases were reported. But we have no state data till date.
Tarsem Peter from Jamhuri Kisan Sabha said,At first about 200 power units were free for the the houses of agriculture workers but later it was reduced to 100 units. The government also announced that power bills of Dalit voters will be waived off,but there are workers from other castes too.
Union members stated that workers have not paid their power bills for more than 5 years and they want the bills to be waived. Peter alleged that the power corporation staff often trouble them over payment of bills. The workers have categorically stated that they will not pay the power bills and will not allow them to disconnect the power supply, he added.