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Sugarcane Farmers Block Jalandhar-Amritsar Highway, Demand Hike in State Purchase Price

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Farmers Returns
Farmers Returns

Sugarcane farmers demanding a fair price for their crops on Friday sparked a protest on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway, with hundreds camping out in the middle of the road, forcing police to divert traffic from both the cities, and Pathankot, Ludhiana & nearby areas.

Visuals of the protest showed hundreds of people sitting on NH 1, waving farmer union flags and chanting anti-government slogans. As many as 32 farmer unions gathered for this event.

They also blocked the railway track near village called Dhanowali, due to which the Shane Punjab Express (from Amritsar to Delhi) was stopped at Jalandhar station. At least seven other trains, including the SVDK Vande Bharat Express, were also affected.

Farmers gathered under the banner of the Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee complained that sugarcane growers in neighboring Haryana state get Rs.48 per quintal. Farmer leaders told that the price per quintal of sugarcane in Haryana was 350 rupees last year and 358 rupees this year. However, in Punjab, the price has remained at 310 rupees for the past five years.

Earlier today, the Amarinder Singh government announced an increase of 15 rupees per quintal, but irate farmers believe this is not sufficient.

According to reports, they demanded for an increase of 70 rupees per quintal.  Farmers also called on the Punjab government to clear pending dues of nearly Rs.200 crore.

This figure is part of the over Rs.18000 crore debt owed by various state governments for purchasing products from sugarcane farmers including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

UP farmers has warned of similar protests if Yogi Adityanath's government does not pay the dues. At the time of this protest, the center continued to face dissatisfaction from the farming community, which Punjab farmers believed was led by its three controversial agricultural laws.

Last week, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met with Prime Minister Modi in Delhi and urged him to begin the process of recalling these laws, protests against which have been rumbling on over a year.

Against the farm laws in Punjab and other states, Singh told the Prime Minister that there is “widespread resentment” and that the “protests killed more than 400 farmers and farm workers.”

The farmers said that they wanted to repeal all three laws, but the center was only willing to make changes and insisted that these laws are beneficial in the long run.

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