STATE TIMES NEWSHIRANAGAR: Alleging disregard of the issues of farmers and tractor trolley operators’, dozens of activists of Panthers Party led by Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman-JKNPP and former Minister and Yash Paul Kundal, State President-Young Panthers staged a massive Dharna outside the office of SDM Hiranagar on Thursday. The protestors 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 listen therein. Addressing the media on the occasion, Harsh Dev Singh 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 famers. 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 and opposed to the guidelines issued on the subject. Several self employed youth who had bought tractors/trolleys in loan were not only rendered unemployed but had failed to pay bank installments leading to multiple problems. Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Rajesh Padgotra, Surinder Chouhan, Robin Sharma, Rajinder Singh Manju, Sohan Singh, Satish Kala, Purshotam Sharma, Sandeep, Mintu, Jagdish Raj, Gurdeep Singh Raju besides others.
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