CHANDIGARH: Train services in Punjab were paralysed today as farmers began a two-day ‘Rail Roko’ agitation, over which the state government accused some unions of politicizing the agriculture issues and misleading the masses for “petty gains”.
Farmers in large numbers squatted on railway tracks at various places, leading to cancellation of 13 trains and diversion of six and thus causing inconvenience to passengers. 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, who will continue their protest tomorrow as well against the state government’s “anti-farmer policies”, claimed that 5,000 of them were arrested by police from different locations in the state.
The protesting farmers were critical of the “indifferent” and “anti-farmer” policies of the state government. They said leaders of eight farmers’ organisations will meet at some undisclosed place tomorrow to decide future course of action in order to further intensify their stir.
During the stir today, Ludhiana-Amritsar, Ludhiana-Jammu, Fazilka-Ferozepur, Ferozepur-Bathinda, Kotakpura-Fazilka sections were “severely” hit, railway officials said.
Among 13 trains which were cancelled included Amritsar-Chandigarh intercity (12412), Amritsar-Howrah (13050), Amritsar Dehradun (14632), Hirakund Express (18508), Amritsar-Darbhanga (15212) and a few DMUs between Ferozepur -Fazilka, and Fazilka-Bathinda, the officials said.
Farmers’ protest forced railway authorities to divert six trains via Tarn Taran which included Amritsar-Sahrasa (14604), Chhattisgarh Express (18238), Golden Temple (12904), Amritsar-Howrah mail (13006), Delhi-Pathankot (14037) and Jammu Tawi-Tata Nagar Muri (18012), they said.
Two trains Swarn Shatabdi (12029) and Garib Rath (14606) were short terminated near Beas, railway officials said. They would return from Jalandhar and Beas respectively.
Commenting on the agitation, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal said in Ludhiana that it was painful that some farmer unions are “politicizing” the issues related to farmers for “petty gains”. – From Press Trust India