With farmers extending their protest on rail tracks indefinitely against the Centre’s farm laws, the Railways says the ground situation is not conducive to resume services in Punjab.(HT file photo)
With farmers extending their protest on rail tracks indefinitely against the Centre’s farm laws, the Railways says the ground situation is not conducive to resume services in Punjab.(HT file photo)

After President declines meeting request, Punjab CM announces relay dharna in Delhi

Capt Amarinder Singh terms situation due to farmers’ rail blockade critical as last of state’s power plants shuts down due to coal shortage
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON NOV 03, 2020 02:14 PM IST

With the President of India not giving time for a meeting, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced that he will lead a relay dharna of MLAs at Delhi’s Rajghat on Wednesday “to highlight the state’s power crisis and critical essential supplies situation amid the Centre’s adamant refusal to allow movement of goods trains”.

The chief minister said he had decided to hold a symbolic relay dharna at Rajghat to bring the state’s grim situation to the Centre’s notice. Since Section 144 of the CrPC is in place in Delhi, MLAs will go from Punjab Bhawan to the samadhi of the Father of the Nation in batches of four only, he said, adding that he will lead the first batch at 10.30am.

Captain Amarinder reiterated his appeal to MLAs of other Punjab parties to join the dharna in the interest of the state.

SAYS STATE HAS RUN OUT OF COAL, FERTILISER SUPPLIES

“GVK has announced it will close down operations at 3pm on Tuesday since coal stocks have completely run out. The public and private power plants in the state have already shut down,” he said in a release.

The chief minister claimed that the situation on the ground was grim as the state had run out of coal, urea/DAP and other essential supplies due to the decision of the railways not to ply goods trains even after the farmers eased their blockade to allow such movement.

GETS COLD SHOULDER FROM CENTRE

Soon after the Vidhan Sabha session, in which all parties had resolved to seek time from the President for November 4 to seek his intervention on the farm bills issue, the chief minister’s office (CMO) had, on October 21, sent a letter to Rashtrapati Bhavan seeking a meeting. A reminder was sent on October 29, in response to which the CMO received a DO letter on Monday rejecting the request for a meeting on grounds of the State Amendment Bills still pending with the governor for consideration. Subsequently, the CMO sent another letter on Monday itself, stating that the chief minister and other MLAs needed time to bring to the President’s notice the situation on the ground and to seek his intervention for resolution of the issues that have cropped up. However, the President’s Office responded saying “the request cannot be accepted at this juncture for reasons cited earlier”.

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