The protest by farmers in Punjab and Haryana against the new farm laws show no sign of being lifted till October 15, the deadline that farm unions have set for Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, to call for a special session of the state assembly. The Indian Railways, however, has revealed the protests have already caused the Railways a revenue loss Rs 200 crore. Rejecting the Centre’s offer for talks, Punjab farmers have decided to intensify their agitation against the laws over the next week. Passenger and goods trains are not being allowed into Punjab as farmers have blocked rail tracks at 33 locations.
The Northern Railways said nearly 28 freight trains and 14 passengers trains were running everyday from Punjab before the rail roko started on September 24. The revenue losses at toll plazas, railway junctions, and fuel stations in Punjab are mounting. However, the Punjab CM urged farmers to relax the dharnas on tracks to allow goods trains in Punjab for which farmers said that they will think over it but on Wednesday they said dharnas on tracks will continue.
Thirty farmers’ unions on October 7 asked the Punjab Government to hold a special Assembly session by October 15 to nullify the laws passed by the Centre failing which they would protest outside the houses of Congress leaders.
The Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Committee (KMSC) turned down the offer of talks by the Union Agriculture Ministry. Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU Dakaunda) chief Buta Singh Burjgill said the Centre seemed in no mood to withdraw the laws and the invitation by Secretary (Agriculture) Sanjay Agarwal was clearly not to initiate a dialogue but has been sent merely to explain to agitating farmers how the laws were good for them.