Punjab farmers protesting against farm laws have agreed to the resumption of all trains from Monday for 15 days. This concession took place after a meeting between farmers’ unions and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. If talks don’t happen in the next 15 days, then the farmers’ agitation will resume and the blockade will be re-imposed, said Punjab government officials.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the farmer’s decision and called on the Centre to resume rail services to the state forthwith. He tweeted that he had a fruitful meeting with farmers’ unions. Starting from November 23 night, farmers’ unions have decided to end rail blockade for 15 days. This move will restore normalcy in the economy, he added.
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.
The farmers’ body on Wednesday had decided to lift blockade on passenger trains if the Centre starts running the goods trains first, to which farmers had agreed nearly a month ago. The Railways, however, cited security concerns and refused to do so, saying that it would operate either both passenger and freight or none.
The farmers’ decision of blocking trains was criticised by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is widely seen in their support. The Chief Minister pointed out that blockade of passenger and freight trains was affecting the state economy.
The farmers’ bodies were also under pressure from the industries, as halting of goods trains has also hit the supplies of coal for thermal power plants, fertilizers for the agriculture sector and supply of gunny bags for paddy procurement. The industries have seen a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore because of suspension of goods trains in the state.
The Railways, in a statement on Friday, said it has suffered a loss of Rs 2,220 crore, including Rs 67 crore in passenger revenue due to blockade of trains.