Farmers lift blockade from Amritsar-Delhi rail track
Chandigarh: Farmers squatting on the Amritsar-Delhi rail tracks Wednesday called off their agitation following the intervention of the high court, which asked the state government to look into their demands.
During resumed hearing on a PIL filed by Patiala resident Mohit Kapoor, the court of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli asked the farmers' leaders to submit their demands within 24 hours to the Advocate General, Punjab, and posted the matter for March 19.
A petition seeking removal of farm protesters under the banner of Kisaan Majdoor Sangarsh Committee from the Amritsar-Delhi rail track was filed in the court on Tuesday.
"The state government has been directed to look into the demands of farmers and file its status report within 10 days," Advocate Arun Gupta, counsel for the petitioner, said.
The court initially heard the demands of farmers' leaders during in-camera proceedings and asked them to first withdraw their agitation and clear the rail tracks.
The court told them that their reasonable and genuine demands would be looked into and would be complied with, said farmers' leaders counsel Mohinder Kumar.
Three farmers' representatives including Satnam Singh Pannu who was spearheading the protest, appeared before the court on Wednesday. They assured the court that they would lift the blockade by 12:30 pm.
Senior Superintendent of Police Parmpal Singh said in Amritsar that the agitation has been called off after two days.
On March 4, farmers had blocked the Amritsar-Delhi rail track in Amritsar in support of their demands including full loan waiver, implementation of the Swaminanthan Commission report and payment with 15 per cent interest for sugarcane bought by the mills.
The Patiala-based resident had filed a petition on Tuesday, seeking appropriate directions for the clearance of the railway track from protesting farmers as the blockade led to cancellation or diversion of trains causing inconvenience to passengers.
On Tuesday, Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda had informed the court that about 85 trains had been cancelled or diverted, affecting about 85,000 passengers because of farmers' protest.
On Wednesday, 38 trains remained cancelled, railways said.