Punjab CM Amarinder Singh calls farmers for talks today amid stir
The farmers are up in arms against three farm laws passed in Parliament. They say these laws are a deterrent to their interest.Updated: Nov 21, 2020, 05:07 IST
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has invited leaders of farm unions for a meeting on Saturday to resolve ongoing standoff over stoppage of passenger trains by the trade unions in the state.
The farmers are up in arms against three farm laws passed in Parliament. They say these laws are a deterrent to their interest.
Since October 7, the Centre has imposed restrictions on movement of freight trains asking the unions to allow movement of passenger trains if they want the goods trains to run in the state.
“We are hopeful of resolving the standoff. I am sure they (farm unions) will show regards towards the CM’s initiative by resolving the matter,” said minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who is a part of three-member ministers committee to talk to protesting farm unions.
The invitation was sent to the leaders of all 31 farm bodies in the state.
People aware of the matter said the chief minister was keen to resolve the standoff. He has also sought appointment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amit Shah. State authorities are expecting a confirmation from the Centre by Saturday.
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Due to the restrictions on freight trains, urea stocks for wheat crop has not arrived, coal supplies have dried up leading to shutting down of two thermal plants and food grain stocks are also piling up in the state.
Saturday’s meeting with the farm unions will be the second such initiative taken by the CM. Last meeting was held on September 29, in which the CM promised farmers to bring laws to counter the three central laws. The state committee of ministers, however, has met the farm unions a number of times.
Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakounda), said: “We have held meetings with office bearers of our union and a near agreement has reached to allow freight trains for the good of Punjab. We are in touch with other farm bodies also who are thinking on similar lines.”
The farm unions are expecting that Amarinder Singh will press for opening of toll plazas as a number of them are on state highways and the state government is incurring heavy losses.
Jagmohan Singh said all 30 farm bodies will hold a meeting before meeting the CM.
In a meeting with the unions on November 13, union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal asked them to vacate the properties of railways and allow movement of passenger trains only after which the freight be permitted to enter Punjab. In their meeting on November 18, the farm bodies asked the Centre to first send freight trains, after which they will let passenger trains run.