People across northern India felt the repercussions of the farmers’ protest in Jalandhar, Punjab when the Indian Railways abruptly cancelled over 50 trains headed for various states on August 20, 2021.
On Friday, Punjab’s farmer leader announced a plan to occupy the railway tracks of the Amritsar-Kolkata railway line. This demonstration was in defiance to the state government announcement to hike the State Agreed Price (SAP) of sugarcane by Rs. 15 per quintal. Protesters called the hike a “mockery” of agitating farmers, considering sugarcane prices in Punjab have not increased since 2017-18. Farmers also demanded clearance of pending dues.
On August 21 morning, the Northern Railways tweeted that 50 trains were cancelled. Later, 19 more trains were cancelled. Further, it said 18 trains were diverted, 36 trains were short terminated and 3 trains were short originated.
Summary of Trains affected due to Kisan Agitation upto 06.00 hrs. on 21.08.2021 :
— Northern Railway (@RailwayNorthern) August 21, 2021
In Punjab, trains were cancelled hours after the protest started. Farmers protested the government’s decision to increase the price of sugarcane by a measly Rs 15, from Rs. 295 to 310 per quintal, while Haryana offered Rs.340-345 per quintal to its farmers. Along with railway lines, around 15-20 thousand farmers assembled under the pandal set up on the busy highway at Dhanowali on the Jalandhar-Phagwara stretch, and they came from different parts of Punjab.
Passengers travelling in the Indian Railways’ Northern Railway Zone were left stranded at Moradabad and Bareilly railway stations when two trains at each point were terminated. Netizens took to social media to complain about the fiasco, while Moradabad officials set up five counters to refund passenger tickets.
Jammu and Kashmir
According to The Hindu, thousands of passengers were stranded in the state after railway authorities cancelled over 40 trains in the region. Few trains ran from the Jammu railway station on a different route. The situation persisted on Saturday when Delhi rains forced further cancellations of trains meant to head towards Jammu.
On August 22, leaders of farmer unions met with Punjab Government’s Cooperatives Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and senior officials in Chandigarh. Failing to reach a consensus, the delegation assured farmers that research experts would have a consultation with farmers tomorrow on the cost of production details related to sugarcane production.
Against this backdrop, agitating farmers said they will continue to occupy highway and railway lines until their demands are met.
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