22 Trains Cancelled, 24 Diverted as Amritsar Farmers Block Tracks to Demand Loan Waiver
Some of the demands that are being raised by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, are the implementation of Swaminathan report, due payments for sugarcane farmers and loan and debt waivers.
Hundreds of farmers sitting on a morcha on the Delhi-Amritsar railway line on Monday.
Amritsar: 22 trains were cancelled and 24 other were diverted as hundreds of farmers of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti sat on a dharna on the Amritsar-Delhi railway line near Jandiala Guru town on Monday.
Some of the demands that are being raised by the farmers are the implementation of Swaminathan report, due payments for sugarcane farmers and loan and debt waivers, as promised in the government's election manifesto.
Despite of heavy deployment of police in the area farmers continued to pour in from the interiors of the state, camping in Devi Das Pura village, as they declared they will continue to sit on the tracks till their demands are met.
The railway tracks on the route have been taken over with pandals and protesters throng the area, sitting intently and listening to various farm leaders, who take turns to address the gathering.
At the end of every speech, a chorus of slogans like “Swaminathan Report Lagu Karwa ke Rahenge, Karza Mafi le ke rahenge,” pierce the air.
“We are simply demanding the government fulfill the demands which have earlier been agreed to. We had 2-3 meetings with Capt. Amarinder Singh, but there is no point meeting him again,” district president of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, Satnam Singh Pannu said.
Accusing the chief minister of the state of going back on his promise of loan waivers, Pannu revealed that farmers in the state are beginning to receive ‘kurki’ (auction) notices from banks and are being harassed.
Talking about the plight of sugarcane farmers, Pannu said, “400 crore of sugarcane farmers is due with the government for the last one-and-a-half years. You pay us this money along with the interest. We are paying interests on the loans. You are sitting on farmer’s hard-earned money and we are being forced to live a miserable life."
He further accused the government of ignoring these due payments.
Through the morcha, Pannu and his supporters are also raising the issue of farmers’ suicide. In May last year, a small farmer Jatinder Singh of Kachharbhann in the Zira sub-division, ended his life after failing to repay his loans. His death generated a lot of unrest among the farmers of the community, with them accusing Congress leader Inderjit Singh Zira and his son and Zira MLA Kulbir Singh Zira of compelling Jatinder Singh to take his life.
Pannu, too, said the state government failed to initiate any action against the father-son duo.
“Capt. Amarinder Singh is not ready to arrest Inderjit Singh Zira and his son Kulbir Singh Zira. The government had agreed to this demand of ours but hasn’t acted on it till date,” he said.
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