Punjab farmers end protest after government assurance

Chandigarh, Aug 13 (IANS) After their four-day-long dharna in Mohali town in Punjab, around 1,000 farmers Friday ended their protest after an assurance from the state government that their demands would be fulfilled.

The farmers were staging a sit-down protest on the Chandigarh-Mohali border since Tuesday, after Chandigarh police stopped them from entering the city.

The Punjab farmers are members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) (Rajewal group).

‘Principal secretary of the Punjab chief minister personally came to us and promised to fulfill all our demands in the next one month. Therefore, we have decided to end our protest today,’ Balbir Singh Rajewal, BKU president, told IANS Friday.

The BKU had called for the protest rally to pressurise the Punjab government to increase productivity bonus on crops, disburse the Rs.800 crore central package early to farmers and relieve them from pending electricity bills.

‘They said the government has formed a committee, under the chairmanship of the chief secretary, to take decisions on the issue of disbursement of Rs.800 crore package. If they do not fulfill this promise, then I will sit on an indefinite hunger strike from Sep 20,’ Rajewal said.

He added: ‘Now we are not required to pay electricity bills and they will be compensated with the productivity bonus of the farmers.’

The dharna had led to a village fair like environment here for the past few days as hundreds of farmers were camping and cooking food by the roadside. Large quantities of sweetmeats and milk was brought for them from the nearby Punjab villages.

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