Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh succeeded in convincing the protesting farmers opposed to the Centre’s controversial farm laws to allow trains — both passenger and freight — to resume services from Monday night.
The farmers’ unions said they would lift the blockade for a 15-day period, but warned it would be re-imposed if their issues are not resolved.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the farmers’ decision to lift the blockade and urged the Centre to resume rail services to Punjab. “Had a fruitful meeting with kisan (farmers’) unions. Happy to share that starting November 23 night, kisan unions have decided to end rail blockade for 15 days. I welcome this step since it will restore normalcy to our economy. I urge the central government to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith,” Amrinder Singh tweeted.
The chief minister is now likely to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi next week to push for resumption of rail services in his state.
Two days back, farmers had said they won’t lift the blockade on passenger trains unless the Union government operates freight trains, which the farmers said they had allowed nearly a month ago. The Railway ministry did not agree with the protesting farmers, saying it would operate both passenger and goods trains or none at all and that it needed assurance that the trains would be safe.
Amarinder Singh, too, was miffed at the farmers’ decision though he said he supports their cause. The CM was worried about the economic impact of the continued blockade of passenger (and consequently freight) trains.
“The farmers should realise things cannot continue like this… if rail transportation continues to remain suspended any longer, the state (will) plunge into an irreversible crisis,” Singh had said earlier.