Chandigarh: Farmers led by Bharatiya Kisan
Union (BKU) on Thursday squatted on rail tracks at 16 locations
across Punjab, delaying over 25 trains by several hours,
causing inconveniences to passengers.
Railway authorities as a precautionary measure stopped
several trains in the state, including on the mainline
Phagwara-Jalandhar section in the wake of blockade of rail
track by protesting farmers between 11 am and 4 pm.
The protest affected the trains running during the day
time hours which were mostly passenger trains, including on
the mainline Delhi Amritsar Jammu and Ambala Patiala Bhatinda
Railway sources said that though some local passenger
trains were delayed due to the protest the long distance
trains were running late due to fog conditions.
BKU, Punjab president, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal claimed that
farmers stopped trains at several locations including
Phagwara, Khanna, Moga, Bathinda, Abohar, Ferozepur, Patiala,
"Not a single train was allowed to run between 11 am till
4 pm," he claimed.
Farmers are demanding fixing of Minimum Support Price
(MSP) of all crops as per the Swaminathan committee report,
waiving off the existing debt and granting all future loans at
three per cent interest, preparation of a separate agriculture
budget, formulation of agriculture polices by Central
government as per the requirement of states.
A report from Phagwara said that railway authorities
stopped an Empty Stock Special load train at Chaheru railway
station on Phagwara-Jalandhar rail section and the Jammu
Tavi-Banaras Express at Goraya, on Phagwara-Ludhiana rail
section in view of the protest.
Consequently, a large number of passengers, including
women and children, remained stranded at Goraya, reports said.
Lakhowal said that the National Coordination Committee of
BKU will now meet in New Delhi after the elections in five
states and then chalk out the next course of action to press
the Centre to accept farmers` demands.