KATHUA, Feb 27: Alleging disregard of the issues of farmers and tractor trolley operators’, a large number of activists of Panthers Party led by party chairman Harsh Dev Singh, and Yash Paul Kundal, State president-Young Panthers staged a massive dharna outside the office of SDM Hiranagar today.
The protesters raised slogans against BJP Govt and the UT administration for neglecting to address the concerns of indigent farmers and other marginalized sections of the society. They also submitted a memorandum to SDM Hiranagar for its onward submission to Lt Governor seeking an early settlement of the issues.
Addressing media on the occasion, Harsh Dev sought adequate compensation for the farmers of Tehsil Hiranagar devastated due to untimely rains and vagaries of weather. He said that the proposed compensation of Rs 675 per kanal was a cruel joke with the farmers whose two successive crops had been damaged due to adverse weather conditions resulting in starvation of poor farmers. He said that on an average, the farmers were spending Rs 1,500-2,000 per kanal as input cost and release of a meager amount of Rs 675 only amounted to adding insult to injury.
He further expressed concern over the harassment and eviction of poor farmers in the name of anti- encroachment drive while at the same time allowing the powerful and mighty to continue to hold possessions of encroached State and forest lands.
Making out a strong case in favour of tractor and trolley operators, Singh said that the Govt had brought them on the brink of starvation by stopping even manual extraction of sand and gravel from river beds. He said that though the extraction of the sand and gravel from river beds had been banned by use of earth excavators and machines, the stopping of the manual extraction by the poor tractor trolley operators was unjustified.
Kundal while seeking adequate relief for the border area farmers called for establishment of Kissan Mandis in Marheen and Rajpura in Hiranagar division. He called for waving off the loans of farmers whose crops had been damaged during the last few months. Several senior leaders also accompanied them.