After spending a cold night on Amritsar-Delhi railway track near Devi Daspura village in the district, farmers, demanding implementation of Swaminathan report among other things, refused to budge and continued with their dharna on Tuesday. This resulted in cancellation of 34 more trains on Tuesday and diversion of 17 others. “We are ready to spend cold nights on the railways track until government meets our demand,” said Amritpal Singh, a farmer.
Administration had offered the farmers a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, however, they declined the proposal. “We had many meetings with the CM in past. Latest was held in October 2018 and the CM had agreed to all our demands. There was no conflict on any issue. Now there is no use of another meeting. We will end the dharna as soon as the CM does the needful,” said Satnam Singh Pannu, president of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Punjab.
Farmers, young and old, from Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Amritsar are participating in the dharna. There are women too in large numbers and they are in no mood to lift the dharna. They have set up canopies along the railway track, some have cushion and others are using paddy straw to make themselves comfortable. Some of the volunteers are on the job of making langar and serving tea.
One Balwant Singh said, “I did graduation. There is no job. Captain government had promised government job for every household. We are two brothers and have five acre land. No one in our family has any job. If government cannot give us job then it should at least implement its own Sawaminathan report so that farmers shouldn’t end up in losses after unloading their crops in grain markets.”
Even the administration seems to be in no hurry to lift the dharna. “We are assessing the situation. We have no orders to remove the dharna,” said an official. Atul Nanda, Advocate General of Punjab, appearing in a plea over this, informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that so far 85 trains have been cancelled or diverted affecting about 85,000 passengers.