Ghaziabad/New Delhi: Hundreds of farmers from Uttar Pradesh squatted on the UP-Delhi border for hours after they were stopped from entering the national capital but withdrew their protest Saturday evening following a government assurance that five of their 15 demands will be met.A delegation of the farmers met Joint Secretary in the Union Agriculture Ministry Vivek Agarwal, who assured them that their five demands including early payment of sugarcane arrears and appointment of a representative of farmers on the committee to fix minimum prices of crops will be met, Bharatiya Kisan Sangathan spokesperson Lalit Rana said. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesRana said the farmers have decided to withdraw the agitation after the assurance. But, he added, that this was “just an interval” and they could return if all demands are not met. The farmers had started their march from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on September 11. They had decided to reach Kisan Ghat, the memorial of former prime minister and farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh, in Delhi, to press for their demands, which also included loan waiver, cheap electricity, pension and implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarAfter reaching the UP-Delhi border, the farmers were stopped Saturday morning from proceeding ahead and they sat on a protest there. However, a delegation was allowed to go and meet Union government officials at Krishi Bhavan in central Delhi. In absence of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, the delegation met Joint Secretary Agarwal, who assured them that five of their 15 demands will be fulfilled, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangathan spokesperson said. The five demands met are: early payment of sugarcane arrears, cleaning of the polluted tributaries of the Ganges in western UP on priority, appointment of a representative of farmers on the committee to fix minimum prices of crops, and giving insurance benefits to all family members of farmers instead of the family head. “We have not finished our agitation. It is just an interval as cultivators have to look after their crops which are ready for harvesting. In case our all demands are not fulfilled, farmers will again lodge their protest through agitation,” Rana said. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra questioned the BJP government on the issue in a tweet. “What is the reason that farmers are being prevented from coming to Delhi and raising their demands….why are they not allowed to speak?” On NH-9 and NH-24 near the Ghaziabad gate, authorities had put up barricades and diverted traffic heading towards Delhi through the day. A large number of security, para-military and fire brigade personnel were deployed, apart from ambulances stationed in the area. The Delhi Traffic Police said in the morning that traffic was obstructed on both carriageways on the national highways towards Nizamuddin area in Delhi. However late in the afternoon, Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Easter Range), said the traffic situation was normal. On Friday night, the farmers had held discussion with government representatives in Noida but the talks failed to resolve their issues.
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his delegation were forced to return to New York on Friday after the special jet given to him by the Saudi government developed a technical fault while heading to Islamabad, a media report said on Saturday. Khan, who was to return to Pakistan after his seven-day trip to the US to attend the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly, had to return to New York after the plane developed technical snag minutes after taking off from Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Reportthe Kennedy International Airport, the News International reported. Pakistan’s Ambassador to United Nations (UN), Maleeha Lodhi, who had earlier seen off PM Khan, rushed back to the airport. Khan waited at the airport for some time while technicians tried to fix the fault, but since more work was needed the fault was said to be corrected by Saturday morning, the report said. Meanwhile, Ambassador Lodhi escorted the prime minister back to the Roosevelt Hotel where he was staying during his hectic seven-day trip. Officials said if the plane is not fixed in the morning, the prime minister would take a commercial flight back to Pakistan where he is anxious to visit earthquake-hit areas and visit the affected families.