Chandigarh: The movement of over 300 passengers and goods trains was badly disrupted in Punjab as the three-day “rail roko’’ stir launched by the farmers entered the second day, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu on Friday.
It may be recalled that several farmers’ fora have begun a rail blockade agitation in the state, squatting on the rail tracks to demand financial relief for their crop losses caused due to recent floods, legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for crops, debt waiver, besides others.
According to official information, while as many as 227 trains’ run had been suspended on Friday, 73 trains were short-terminated, and 50 trains were diverted due to the farmers’ agitation on the rail tracks, which was continuing on as many 13 places in Punjab most of which were in the Ferozepur division where many trains were either cancelled or short-terminated or short-diverted.
Sit-ins protests at as many as 13 places
The farmers had staged sit-ins at as many as 13 places, including Patiala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Moga, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Amritsar.
Northern railways officials also said that dozens of goods trains’ movement was also badly hit. In all, the movement of over 380 passengers and goods trains was disrupted due to the farmers' stir. The railways had, however, set up special help desks for assistance to the affected passengers, they added.
Ambala-Chandigarh National highway blocked till evening
Meanwhile, motorists travelling from Delhi to Chandigarh also faced harrowing times after a group of farmers also blocked the Ambala-Chandigarh national highway from around 1 pm till around 5 pm.
The farmers had blocked the said stretch near Lalru town of Punjab around 1 pm following which the state police had to divert the traffic. However, the highway blockade was withdrawn around 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, the farmer leaders held that the government should have addressed farmers’ demands immediately when the call for the said stir was given a month ago. The police said that adequate police bandobust had been made to handle the situation.