Monday February 19, 2018
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Punjab farmers to continue stir as talks with Badal fail

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Chandigarh: The ongoing ‘rail roko’ agitation by Punjab farmers and farm labourers will continue, they announced on Monday as a meeting between their representatives and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and senior government functionaries failed to produce any result.

No conclusive breakthrough could be achieved as the government said it was not in a position to accept the demands of the 18 organisations of farmers and farm hands, government sources said after the meeting that lasted over four hours in the evening.

Sources said that Punjab government refused to accept the demand of farmers for considerable enhancement in compensation for losses due to whitefly pest attack on cotton crop.

After the meeting with representatives of the coordination committee of 18 farmer and farm labour unions here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, however, reiterated that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government was committed to the welfare of farmers and farm labourers in the state.

Senior Akali Dal leader and parliament member Prem Singh Chandumajra also told the media that the meeting was held in a “positive atmosphere”.

On the other hand, farmer leaders who attended the meeting left for another venue to discuss among themselves the issues raised with Badal and state government functionaries.

“We will discuss the issues and let you know later,” farmer leader Sukhdev Singh Khokriwala told the media at Punjab Bhawan here after the meeting.

The ‘rail roko’ (railway blockade) agitation by farmers in Punjab continued for the sixth day on Monday as farmers blocked rail traffic at several places in Amritsar, Moga, Mansa and other districts.

Over 800 trains, including the Samjhauta Express peace train between India and Pakistan, have been cancelled or diverted by railway authorities due to the ongoing agitation by farmers.

Thousands of passengers have been left stranded due to cancellation of trains. The loss to the railways and other agencies is said to be over Rs.100 crore in these six days.

Agitating farmers are demanding compensation of Rs.40,000 per acre for loss of cotton crop due to whitefly pest attack, purchase of basmati rice at minimum support price, and immediate release of payments to sugar cane growers.

(IANS)

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Punjab farmers end rail blockade, to protest against ministers

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Chandigarh: Punjab farmers demanding better compensation for losses due to whitefly pest attack on cotton crop ended on Tuesday the week-long rail blockade and decided to protest against state ministers.

After a meeting of eight farmers’ organisations here, the ‘rail roko’ (railway blockade) was called off on the seventh day. The protest had hit hundreds of trains.

“We have decided to end the rail roko. We will now ‘gherao’ Punjab ministers at their residences and other functions,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Jagmohan Singh said here.

The rail blockade had affected over 800 trains in Punjab over the past week, putting thousands of passengers to inconvenience.

The Monday meeting was held after talks between farmers’ leaders and the Punjab government, led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Monday failed to end the deadlock.

The government said it was not in a position to accept the demands of the agitating farmers, government sources said.

Badal reiterated that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government was committed to the welfare of farmers and farm labourers.

Akali Dal leader and MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said the meeting was held in a “positive atmosphere”.

Over 800 trains, including the Samjhauta Express train between India and Pakistan, were cancelled or diverted due to the agitation by farmers.

Thousands of train passengers were stranded. The loss to the railways and other agencies is said to be over Rs.100 crore.

Agitating farmers are demanding compensation of Rs.40,000 per acre for loss of cotton crop, purchase of basmati rice at the minimum support price and immediate release of payments to sugarcane growers.

(IANS)

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