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Rail Roko Andolan: Farmers Clear Blockade from Rail Tracks Post Meeting With Punjab CM

After assurance from Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on a couple of demands, Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) on Tuesday announced to postpone their rail roko for the time being.

Ayushi Raina
Farmers Clear Blockade from Rail Tracks
Farmers Clear Blockade from Rail Tracks

After assurances from Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on a couple of demands, the Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) stated that their rail roko will be postponed for the time being.

Rail traffic was severely disrupted as a result of the protest, with more than 180 trains being disrupted on a daily basis.

Since December 20, KMSC members have been protesting on the tracks in seven different sites around the state. BKU Ugrahan, on the other hand, opted to continue their pakka dharnas outside DC offices in 13 districts, reasoning that as long as things are not implemented on the ground, their dharnas will continue.

Meanwhile, Channi met with KMSC and BKU Ugrahan separately on Tuesday at his official residence in Chandigarh. The next meeting with BKU Ugrahan is scheduled on December 30, and he will meet with KMSC on January 4.

"In our area, farmers cultivate basmati in majority, and some farmers' crops have been destroyed owing to hail storm," said Sarwan Singh Pandher, general secretary of KMSC. The government had set a compensation of Rs.12000 per acre, but on Tuesday they decided to raise it to Rs.17000 per acre. They have already consented to withdraw all cases filed against farmers during the agitation. However, our demand for a total remission of farmer loans has gone unanswered. They also decided to compensate sugarcane farmers Rs.360 per quintal, up from Rs.325 before.

Former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh raised it to Rs.360, however it was never implemented. Compensation and employment opportunities for farm workers' families are being considered. As a result, we've chosen to postpone our rail roko. Since December 20, nearly 1,000 trains in Punjab have been disrupted, resulting in significant losses.

A nine-member BKU Ugrahan delegation led by state president Joginder Singh Ugrahan met with the CM. "Compensation for cotton crop damage due to pink bollworm has reached DC offices, but disbursement procedure is quite delayed," said Shingara Singh Maan, senior vice president of the union. So far, the state has paid Rs.5 lakh in compensation to the families of 407 farmers who died during the struggle against farm laws at Delhi's borders. However, jobs have been given only 169 families.”

In a press release, Channi stated that after discussion with KMSC on Tuesday, it was decided to offer assistance of Rs.17000 per acre to Basmati growers whose crops were severely damaged by hail storms during the last Kharif season.

The CM assured that he would soon take up the matter with Home Minister Amit Shah for prompt withdrawal of cases registered against farmers by Delhi Police as well as RPF during their year-long agitation.

Meanwhile, Kokrikalan expressed concern about the manner in which compensation for cotton crop loss caused by pink bollworm is being distributed. "The government is only providing compensation for agricultural loss on up to 5 acres of land, and distribution has yet to begin." We want this notification to be amended as compensation for the total loss should be paid rather than only for 5 acres of land," he stated.

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