Farmers continue to block rail traffic for second day

Farmers continue to block rail traffic for second day

As many as 40 trains were affected in Ambala and Ferozepur divisions of Northern Railways due to the protest, which started yesterday and had led to the regulation and cancellation of some trains.

"The agitation of the farmers has affected our operations and we hope the situation will improve soon," Commercial Manager (Ambala Division), Northern Railways, G M Singh said, adding they were forced to cancel or divert some trains today.

A large number of farmers were squatting on railway lines between Jalandhar and Amritsar, a railway official of the Ferozepur Division said.

The farmers organisations are demanding that moisture limit of paddy be raised from 17 to 22 per cent, discolouration limit be raised from 5 to 12 per cent and MSP of wheat be hiked.

Defending their blocking of rail traffic, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) General Secretary Sukhdev Singh said they were left with no other option. "If the government fails to accept the demands of farmers, we have little choice," he said.

Several trains had either been cancelled or regulated from alternative routes in view of the blockade. Several local and inter-state trains were stopped by farmers at places including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda and Mansa.

The leaders of farmers organisations accused state and Central governments of allegedly adopting discriminatory policies against farmers and termed the recent visit by a central team to Punjab to assess the loss of paddy as an eyewash.

Besides seven labour bodies, prominent farmers organisations that were involved in the protest include BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), BKU (Krantikari), Punjab Kisan Sabha, Kirti Kisan Sabha, Kisan Sangrash Committee among others.