Punjab farmers to lift rail blockade completely from Monday
Breakthrough after chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh met farm union leaders in Chandigarh; farmers say Centre has a window of 15 days to open talks with them else they will resume the blockade.Updated: Nov 21, 2020, 16:16 IST
Punjab farmers will completely lift their nearly two-month-long rail blockade against the Centre’s new agriculture laws from Monday to allow goods and passenger trains to ply in the state.
The announcement came after chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh invited leaders of all 31 farmer unions to Chandigarh for talks to break the deadlock over resuming train services in Punjab, the CM’s media adviser Raveen Thukral tweeted. “The decision was taken in response to the impassioned appeal by the chief minister at a meeting with kisan (farmer) unions,” he said.
“The kisan unions will allow the resumption of all trains from day after tomorrow (Monday) evening. There will be no hampering of operations for 15 days during which the central government should open talks. If talks don’t happen in a fortnight then the agitation will resume after 15 days,” the government spokesman said.
Capt Amarinder had also urged the Centre to support his government in creating a congenial environment for ending the agitation, which had grave repercussions for the state and the nation.
Punjab farmers’ bodies on Wednesday had said that they would consider allowing passenger trains to run in the state if the Centre starts running the goods trains first.
However, the railways had refused, saying it would either operate both freight and passenger trains or none.
The suspension of goods trains has hit the supplies of fertilisers for the agriculture sector and coal for thermal power plants, besides adversely affecting the industry.
Farmers, who are protesting against the three farm laws, have said that they will reach Delhi through five highways connecting the national capital on November 26 as part of their Delhi Chalo call. Farmers have expressed fears that the new laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of corporates. They have been demanding that the laws be repealed.