Farmer unions demanded compensation for a labourer, Mandar Singh, who died on Tuesday while he was on his way to participate in a dharna organized by eight different farmer unions at Bathinda. The unions claimed that Mandar, from Killianwali village in Muktsar, was depressed after his cotton crop, which he had grown on 2 acres of land he had taken on contract, was damaged by the white fly attack.
“He was coming along with other farmers and labourers in a tractor when all of a sudden he fell unconscious and was immediately rushed to the civil hospital where he was declared dead. Doctors said he died of cardiac arrest. We demand Rs 5 lakh compensation for his family apart from a job to a family member,” said Shingara Singh Mann, President of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan).
The unions have started an indefinite dharna by blocking one side of the road near Rajindra College in Ludhiana, demanding compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre for cotton farmers whose crop is under white fly attack. “The Rs 10 crore allocation for cotton crop by the state government is a cruel joke and hence the dharna will continue till demands are met,” the farmers said.
This dharna is supported by eight farmer unions and an equal number of labourer unions. The dharna disrupted traffic on the stretch but farmers vowed to continue their protest.