Punjab farmers to lift rail blockade for 15 days from Monday
handigarh: In a move that may bring relief to the state facing an acute shortage of essential supplies, Punjab farmer bodies protesting against the Centre's farm laws on Saturday decided to lift their blockade of passenger trains for 15 days from Monday, November 23. The decision to lift the blockade of passenger trains came after a meeting of farmer leaders with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
However, the farmer bodies said they will again block the rail tracks if the government failed to resolve their issues. The decision was announced by Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal.
In a tweet, CM Amarinder Singh welcomed the farmers' decision. He urged the Centre to reciprocate it by restoring all train services and hold further talks with them.
Had a fruitful meeting with Kisan Unions. Happy to share that starting 23rd Nov night, Kisan Unions have decided to end rail blockades for 15 days. I welcome this step since it will restore normalcy to our economy. I urge Central Govt to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith, tweeted Amarinder.
The CM assured the farmer leaders that he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah soon to press for their demands, according to a government statement.
The CM also promised the farmer representatives that he will look into their other demands, including those relating to sugarcane price hike, clearance of dues and withdrawal of FIRs registered in stubble-burning cases.
He said he will hold talks with them on these issues within the next one week and will also set up a committee in this regard. Meanwhile, Divisional Railway Manager (Ferozepur Division) Rajesh Aggarwal in a statement said as soon as farmers lift their blockade, the Railways will be ready to resume its services.
The train services have remained suspended in the state since September 24, when farmers launched their rail roko agitation against the Centre's recently enacted agriculture related laws. Earlier, farmers had allowed freight trains but the Railways refused to resume these, saying it would either
operate both freight and passenger trains or none. We have decided to allow passenger trains from November 23 evening, said Darshan Pal, president of the Krantikari Kisan Union. Before meeting the Punjab CM, farmer organisations held their own meeting to deliberate on the issue.The decision was taken while keeping in mind the interest of Punjab, Buta Singh Shadipur, president of the Bharati Kisan Manch, told the media after the meeting here. He said the decision as not been taken under any pressure either from the Centre or the Punjab government. Farmer leaders further said they will go to the national capital as per their November 26-27 "Delhi Chalo" march call. Buta Singh Burjgill, presi- dent of the BKU (Dakonda), said their protests at toll plazas, outside railway stations, shop ping malls and residences of BJP leaders will continue.