A few passenger trains were cancelled in Punjab today due to a rail roko agitation by farmers in support of their demands, including payment of outstanding sugarcane dues and financial assistance to manage paddy straw.
The protesters, who gathered under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, squatted on the railway tracks in Gurdaspur, Jalandhar and Tarn Taran districts. The agitation started at 1 pm and went on till 4 pm.
The one-day 'Rail Roko' agitation led to the cancellation of five passenger trains - Bhagtanwala-Khemkaran-Bhagtanwala, Amritsar-Qadian-Amritsar, Ferozepur-Jalandhar City, Jalandhar City-Amritsar and Amritsar-Jalandhar city, a railway official said.
Besides, two trains -- Pathankot-Verka-Pathankot and Fazilka-Ferozepur-Fazilka were short terminated, the official said.
A Jammu Tawi-Ahmedabad train was diverted via Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Moga and Ferozepur.
Satnam Singh Pannu, the president of the farmers' organisation, said they protested the "apathetic" attitude of the government towards their demands.
"An outstanding payment of Rs 600 crore towards Punjab cane growers has not been cleared yet. We have not been given our money for the last one year. As a result, we are being forced to borrow money for meeting household expenses. Some farmers are even committing suicides," said Mr Pannu.
Farmers also demanded Rs 200 per quintal as bonus on paddy for management of crop residue.
"Farmers are being harassed. The government is imposing a fine and registering cases against them for stubble burning," he said.
They also demanded relaxation in the norms for paddy procurement.
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