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Punjab farmers say won’t let passenger trains to run, ask Centre to allow goods trains first

Protesting farmers say the 'stubborn attitude' of the central government in not allowing good strains to run in Punjab is unfortunate.

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Chandigarh: Punjab’s protesting farmers have decided to continue with their agitation against the Centre’s farm laws, and said they will not allow movement of passenger trains in the state until Railways allows goods trains to run. 

Members of a conglomerate of 30 farmer unions met Wednesday to chalk out the next plan of action after the seven-hour meeting with central ministers held last week failed to yield any results.

The protesting farmers told reporters Wednesday that the “stubborn attitude” of the central government in not allowing good strains to run in Punjab was unfortunate. 

The farmers, however, added that in case the Centre agreed to run goods trains in the state they will immediately hold an emergency meeting and consider the possibility of allowing passenger trains to run too.

Train services to Punjab have been suspended since 3 October when the agitating farmers started the ‘rail roko’ agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws. However, following acute shortage of fertilisers for sowing of wheat crop as well as of coal for power plants in the state, the farmers allowed the running of goods trains. 

The Railways, however, put its foot down saying goods trains will not be run in Punjab until the farmers allowed passenger trains to run as well.

“All the aspects of our protest will continue as they are. However, if the Centre takes the initiative and starts the goods trains to the state, we will immediately consider lifting the ban on movement of passenger trains,” Ruldu Singh Mansa, president of Punjab Kisan Union, told reporters after the meeting.


Also read: Railways says 1,987 passenger, 3,090 goods trains cancelled due to Punjab farmers’ protests


Farmers to intensity nationwide protests

The farmers have also decided to intensify their nationwide protest programme. 

“A joint meeting of the national farmer unions under the common banner of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha will be held in Chandigarh tomorrow (Thursday) to chalk out the details of the strategy for national protests,” said Mansa.

The protesting farmers have already announced they will be launching the ‘Dilli ghero’ protest on 26-27 November as part of which scores of farmers are expected to reach the national capital from various parts of the country on tractors. 

“We have formulated the details of the ‘Dilli ghero’ programme and put our teams on duty district-wise. The first lot of farmers will move from some districts on 24 November so that they are able to reach in time to set up the protest spot at Ramleela ground in Delhi,” said Mansa.

Asked about the Delhi Police having disallowed them to enter the national capital due to Covid-related restrictions, Mansa said if and when they are stopped they will decide what to do on the spot. 

“The Covid pandemic is only being used as an excuse by the Delhi and Haryana governments to try and stop the farmers from protesting. If there was such a big problem regarding the disease, why did the state governments allow buses and trains and schools and colleges to start functioning,” he asked.

If protests continue, Punjab will plunge into irreversible crisis: CM

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh expressed disappointment over the “adamant” refusal of the farmer unions to completely lift their rail blockade.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, the CM said in light of their discussions held last week with the central government he had expected the farmers to back down from their unyielding approach in the interest of Punjab, especially in view of the state government’s absolute support to their cause, and also in the light of the Centre’s decision to engage with them on the issue of the farm laws.

“The decision of the kisan unions to maintain status quo with respect to their blockade of passenger trains, which was obstructing movement of goods trains also, was extremely unfortunate,” said Amarinder. 

“They should realise things could not continue like this ad infinitum, and if rail transportation continued to remain suspended any longer, the state would plunge into an irreversible crisis,” he said, adding that no government could afford such a situation. 

The industries alone have already suffered losses to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore (and still counting), noted the chief minister, adding that coming on the heels of the Covid disruption, this was putting the state under massive pressure.

Industries in Ludhiana and Jalandhar alone had suffered Rs 22,000 crore in losses, while more than 13,500 containers were lying at Dhandari Dry Port from where they could not be sent to other parts of the country due to the rail transport suspension, he added.


Also read: Why farmers’ protest against farm laws has led to a power crisis in power-surplus Punjab


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The farmers must call off the rail roko agitation immediately. The central government is right. The farm laws in long term are benificial to farmers. There are no agitations in other states. The government has already bought the produces from other states. Unless the agitation is called off, Punjab farmers will lose. I hope good sense prevail.

  2. The Farmers Have Held Peaceful Protests All Over The Punjab State Barring Stray Incidents Not Connected To Them And Must Be Commended For Excluding Partys Like The Badal Fake Dal And Congress From Jumping On The Bandwagon. The BJP On The Other Hand Will in The Coming Days Realise The Grave Mistake There Leadership Made Back In 1996/1997 In Hooking Up With The Corrupt Badals Politically/Morally Bankrupt At The Time As The Fat Piggy Muckbir Takes Centre Stage Playing The Same Race/Faith Card His Father Did During The Late 1970s Early 80s Out Of Which Came Terrorism Of The Religious Kind.

  3. The protesters need a face-saving way out. Govt had proved its point, now be magnanimous, and give the protests a dignified retreat.

    No point in kicking when someone is down and out.

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