Chandigarh, May 29 (PTI) Thousands of farmers today drove down to the office of the local authorities in Samrala, Ludhiana to hand over the keys of their tractors as part of a unique protest against the rising diesel prices. Also Read - Over 15 Lakh Vaccinated, 11 Hospitalised Across India So Far, 6 Deaths Unrelated: Govt

Organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), the protesters alleged apathy on the part of the central government claiming that the incessant fuel price hikes were only adding to the woes of the debt-ridden farmers. Also Read - FAU-G Mobile Game to be Launched on Republic Day | Here’s How to Download The Game

“The price of diesel, which is an important input cost of cultivation, has risen so sharply that it has gone out of the reach of the farmers,” BKU (Rajewal) chief Balbir Singh Rajewal said. Also Read - BJP, TMC Lock Horns Over Jai Shri Ram Chants as Mamata Refuses to Address Netaji Event in Kolkata | Key Points

The increase in the diesel prices has come at a time when paddy sowing is going to start next month. As per rough estimates, the rise in the fuel rates will put an additional burden of Rs 400-600 per hour for ploughing operations,” he claimed.

The livid farmers blamed the high fuel prices for agricultural activities getting severely affected.

“It has become unviable to carry out farming activities because of the fuel price hikes. We have come here on our tractors to hand over the keys to the district administration as we cannot afford to use them,” a farmer lamented.

As hundreds of tractors converged on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road in Samrala, the commuters had a harrowing time, while the administration scrambled to manage the massive traffic snarl.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.