Chandigarh, Dec 11 Road and railway traffic limped back to normal across Punjab Sunday as agitating farmers, demanding waiving of power bills among other things, lifted their blockade of highways and railway tracks after five days.
“The agitating farmers started moving back from the blocked National Highway No. 1 (NH-1) late Saturday night and traffic on the highway has been fully restored after 4-5 days,” a police official in Beas town, 200 km from here, where the main blockade by the farmers begun done last week, told IANS.
The crucial NH-1 links Sikh holy city of Amritsar with Jalandhar. The highway runs between Delhi and Attari border. It is one of the busiest highways in the state.
Traffic had to be diverted by authorities in the last five days as the farmers blocked the main Beas bridge near Beas town on this highway.
Stranded railway passengers, especially in southwest Punjab districts of Bathinda and Mansa, who had to suffer as trains were cancelled due to blocking of railway tracks by agitating farmers, too heaved a sigh of relief as the train services were restored Sunday morning after nearly five days.
“We had to go to Rajasthan by train but the trains were cancelled. Finally, we will be able to go,” Bathinda resident Ramesh Mittal said.
Farmers organizations ended their agitation for now Saturday evening after the Punjab government assured them that most of their demands have been accepted. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has called farmers’ leaders for talks in Chandigarh Monday.
Punjab Kisan Sangharsh Committee president Satnam Singh Pannu said that the Punjab government had accepted main demands of the farmers.
These include waiving power bills of farmers amounting to over Rs.300 crore, extending free power facility to farmers beyond March 31, 2012, restoring 200 units of free power to landless farmers and labourers retrospectively and compensation to farmers who were injured in the agitation.