Punjab farmers' 'rail roko' stir ends, movement of nearly 600 trains hit

The agitation that began on Thursday hit the movement of trains, with many being cancelled, short-terminated or diverted, railway officials said.

CHANDIGARH: Farmers Saturday evening ended their three-day 'rail roko' stir that hit the movement of trains, causing inconvenience to passengers in Punjab and Haryana.

Protesters were holding their agitation against the Centre in support of various demands including compensation for crops damaged in the recent floods, a legal guarantee on MSP and a complete debt waiver.

The agitation that began on Thursday hit the movement of trains, with many being cancelled, short-terminated or diverted, railway officials said.

According to railway officials of the Ferozepur division, the three-day farmers' stir affected the movement of 581 passenger trains and 17 goods trains. Of passenger trains, as many as 376 trains were cancelled, 89 were short terminated, 46 short originated, and 70 were diverted.

The farmers blocked railway tracks at several places in Faridkot, Samrala, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Patiala, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Amritsar since Thursday as part of their agitation. The protest left hundreds of rail passengers stranded in Punjab and Haryana.

A railway passenger at Ludhiana station said he arrived from Jalandhar City by road to take a train to Gorakhpur but there is no information on when it will arrive. Another passenger at the station said the agitation forced the cancellation of a train from Amritsar in which 12 of his family members were supposed to travel to Bihar.

They later learned that the train would depart from Ludhiana and the family travelled from Amritsar by road. However, there is still no update about the train, he added.

The farmers' agitation directly affected the Ambala and the Ferozepur railway divisions, the officials said.

In Hoshiarpur, state president of Azad Kisan Committee Doaba, Harpal Singh Sangha, warned if their demand are not fulfilled by Dussehra, the farmers will burn "symbolic" effigies of the Centre.

Several farmer groups, including the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee; Bharti Kisan Union (Krantikari); Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Azaad); Azaad Kisan Committee, Doaba; Bharti Kisan Union (Behramke); Bharti Kisan Union (Shaheed Bhagat Singh) and the Bharti Kisan Union (Chottu Ram), participated in the three-day protest.

Their demands include a financial package for the flood-affected people in north India, a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for all crops and a debt waiver for farmers.

The farmers want a Rs 50,000-crore flood relief package for north Indian states and MSP according to the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report.

They are also demanding a waiver of the entire debt of farmers and labourers, and Rs 10 lakh and a government job as compensation to the kin of each farmer who died during the agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws.

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