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Vandata Farmers Agitation

The 21-day-long 'rail roko' agitation by the farmers of Vantada village of Sabarkantha district ended on Friday after the Indian Railways agreed to their demand for a road across the tracks. Since Tuesday last, farmers including women of the village were on a hunger strike. At least 75 people including Sabarkantha MP Mahendrasinh Chauhan fell ill during the hunger strike. Over 120 farmers led by Chauhan undertook a fast unto death to protest the "apathetic attitude" of the Indian Railways to their demand on an approach road to national highway no. 8, 2 km south of their village. 

Sabarkantha district collector Jaiprakash Shivhare said, "Three senior railways officers were in Himmatnagar on Friday. They conceded to the demand of the villagers, who will now be able to use the railway crossing gate, which was denied to them until now. The railways will consider their demand to have a permanent road across the railway tracks." 

The rail traffic on Ahmedabad-Udaipur metre gauge line was disrupted since January 29 because of the agitation. The trains from Ahmedabad were being terminated at Himmatnagar and down trains from Udaipur at Dungarpur. "Passengers had to traverse 105 km between these two stations by road. The trains were running almost empty," said Indian Railways officials.