Chandigarh: Train and road traffic remained affected at various places in Punjab as the farmers 'Rail Roko' agitation entered the second day on even as the protesting peasants were "forcibly" lifted from the tracks at two places by police in the state.
Police lifted a small gathering of farmers which had blocked rail traffic at Jaito (Bathinda) and Chand (Faridkot), officials said, adding that with this two tracks Ferozepur-Abohar and Faridkot-Bathinda have been cleared.
"Some 4,000 agitating farmers were rounded up by police from across the state and later released," a BKU (Ekta) leader Jagmohan Singh said. He said that police "forcibly" lifted protesting farmers at two rail tracks as their number was small.
He, however, said that more farmers today joined the agitation at six different places in the state and on one state highway. Farmers are squatting on rail tracks at Mansa, Shergarh (Bathinda), Rampura (Bathinda), Pathrala (Muktsar), Dagru (Ludhiana) and Mucchhal (Amritsar), Singh said, adding, the Lehra-Sunam state highway had also been blocked.
Railways said that the traffic remained affected on Bathinda-Sirsa, Ganganagar-Ferozepur, Bathinda-Bikaner, Ludhiana-Ferozepur, Bathinda-Patiala and Delhi-Mansa railway track in view of the agitation.
However, railways have re-routed, re-scheduled and diverted a number of trains bound for various destinations in the north, south, west and east in the wake of some technical work on railway track at Asaoti near Delhi, officials said. As many as eight farmers' organisations including BKU Ekta (Dakunda), BKU Ekta (Ugrahan), BKU (Krantikari), Kirti Kisan Union are participating in the agitation.
Agitating farmers have been demanding Rs 40,000 per acre compensation for farmers whose crop got damaged by whitefly attack, Rs 20,000 per family compensation for farm labour, Rs 4,500 per quintal rate for basmati PUSA 1509 variety, and Rs 5,000 per quintal for basmati PUSA 1121 variety.
Besides, they are seeking payments of sugarcane dues by private mills, debt relief and Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to the family of farmers who committed suicide. Railways had already asked Punjab government to prevent protesting farmers from disrupting rail services, saying passengers had to face harrowing time because of such protests.
Meanwhile, Singh, who is also Secretary General of BKU (Ugrahan) said that the core-committee meeting of farmers is going on at an undisclosed location to chalk out future strategy.
"We might go in for indefinite protest as there has been no response from the government," he said.