Protest by farmers in Punjab affects rail and road transport


    Farmers seeking to raise sugar cane prices blocked railroad tracks and a national road in Punjab’s Jalandhar for the second day in a row on Saturday, affecting train and vehicle traffic.

    Meanwhile, farmers said the state government had called a meeting with their leaders in Chandigarh for Sunday.

    According to railway officials from the Ferozepur division, a total of 89 trains were canceled due to the protest.

    Train travelers traveling to the Raksha festival bore the brunt of the blockade.

    Numerous farmers started an indefinite agitation on Friday to urge the Punjab government to accept their demands related to outstanding sugar cane fees and an increase in sugar cane prices.

    On Saturday, they refused to lift the blockade until their demands were met.

    However, emergency vehicles were allowed to run, they added.

    Protesters have blocked the Jalandhar-Phagwara stretch of the Delhi-Amritsar national road near the village of Dhanowali in Jalandhar district.

    The blockade affected traffic to and from Jalandhar, Amritsar and Pathankot, although the administration diverted traffic to some alternative routes.

    Farmers sitting on the Jalandhar-Chaheru section have blocked the Ludhiana-Amritsar and Ludhiana-Jammu railroad tracks in Jalandhar for several trains including the Amritsar-New Delhi Swarna Shatabdi EXP SPL (02030), Amritsar-Dehradun EXP SPL (04664), New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi SPL (02013) and the New Delhi-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra Shri Shakti SPL (02461).

    Rail officials said efforts would be made to ensure the stranded trains get as far as possible to their destinations via diverted routes.

    Many rail travelers said they couldn’t get to their destination because their trains were canceled.

    “In the morning we got the message that our train, which is supposed to leave at 8 o’clock, has been canceled. We have booked tickets on another train, but we are not sure whether it is going or not, ”said a man with his wife and a child at the Amritsar train station.

    He added that he should go to Bhopal. “Tomorrow is rakhi festival and we do not know how we will achieve our goal,” he regretted.

    Bharti Kisan Union (Doaba) general secretary Satnam Singh Sahni said they allow families traveling to Raksha Bandhan to use the service lane along the national road.

    Sahni said about 10 peasant leaders will attend the meeting, which Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and other officials will attend.

    The meeting will take place on Sunday at 12 noon in Punjab Bhawan.

    In the meantime, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal asked the congressional government to raise the state guaranteed price (SAP) for sugar cane to a minimum of 380 rupees per quintal.

    Protesting farmers are demanding that the Punjab government increase the SAP for sugar cane and pay arrears of Rs 200-250 billion.

    You have already rejected the 15 rupees per quintal increase announced by the Punjab government a few days ago.

    The state government had revised sugar cane prices to Rs 325 for the early variety, Rs 315 for the medium variety and Rs 310 per quintals for the late-ripening variety.

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