Industrialists in Ludhiana seek resumption of freight services
While railway authorities and farmers’ unions are locked in a bitter tug-of-war over movement of trains in the state, worried industrial associations have sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to end the deadlock so that business can be brought back on track.
Badish Jindal, president of the All India Industries and Trade Forum, said: “It is shameful that the Union railway ministry has laid down the condition that freight trains will be allowed to ply only when farmers allow movement of passenger trains. It is a clear indication that the Centre is trying to pressurise farmers and the state government through the railways.”
Jindal said thousands of containers are stranded at ports, goods have been dumped in warehouses and more than 80% exports have been cancelled. Similarly, three-lakh tonnes of scrap being exported into Punjab is also lying at ports.
“Ludhiana is known for its hosiery industry. But, due to trains not plying and the anti-farmer and anti-industry policies of the Union government, most export orders have been cancelled. Due to coal crisis, power cuts have started affecting the functioning of industries. If the situation does not change soon, thousands of factories will be forced to shut down and millions will lose their jobs,” he added.
“On the call of the industries and state government, farmers have given a clear and written statement that freight trains will not be stopped in the state. The Punjab government has also given written assurance of safety to the railway ministry. All Lok Sabha members from Punjab have also complained to the department and ministry concerned,” he added.
The farm bills is a matter between farmers, the state and central government and industries have no relation with this subject, stressed Jindal.
CICU demands bus service
On the other hand, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU), Upkar Singh Ahuja, suggested that the government should start a bus service for ferrying migrant labourers from their hometowns to industrial areas.