6 trains cancelled due to farmers’ protest in Punjab’s Gurdaspur

Six trains have been cancelled due to a “rail roko” protest of farmers’ group Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) that entered its second day on Monday at the Batala railway station in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.

The farmers launched their indefinite protest on Sunday in support of various demands, including a fair compensation for their land acquired for road projects and crop loss due to inclement weather.

According to railway officials, six trains, including the Pathankot to Verka, Amritsar to Pathankot, Amritsar to Qadian passengers, on the Amritsar-Pathankot section were cancelled on Monday due to the farmers’ protest.

The protesters parked their tractors on the railway track at the station on Monday and raised slogans against the Centre and the Punjab government.

“This is the second day of our protest,” KMSC general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher said, asking the Centre and the state government to accept their demands.

He said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab should give compensation to farmers for crop loss due to inclement weather.

Pandher said the Gurdaspur deputy commissioner and the Batala senior superintendent of police held talks with them on Monday. “They have given us some proposals, which are yet to be considered,” he added.

“We want the chief minister to intervene and he should resolve our issues,” Pandher said.

Besides seeking a fair amount for land acquired for road projects, the farmers are also demanding a compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre for crop loss due to untimely rains and hailstorms in the state.

They are also seeking a relaxation in the norms for the procurement of wheat for the central pool.

Untimely rains, hailstorms and high-velocity winds have damaged wheat and other crops in many areas of Punjab. The state government has already announced a 25-per cent hike in compensation for crop loss due to the vagaries of weather.

The protesters also said they want the state government to waive the interest on farm loans and defer the loan installments by six months.

Pandher said the state government should expedite the process of special “girdawari” (revenue survey) for the assessment of crop loss and ensure that the farmers are compensated at the earliest.