HW English

Punjab Farmers Allow Train Services To Function Normally, Talks Will Contiue

They would lift the blockade for a 15-day period but warned it would be re-imposed if talks to address and resolve their issues failed to take place within that period. 

Punjab farmers, who are agitating over the controversial farm bills passed recently by setting up rail blockades across the states, will now allow trains (both passenger and freight) to resume service from Monday night, it was announced after a meeting between farmers’ unions and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

They would lift the blockade for a 15-day period, but warned it would be re-imposed if talks to address and resolve their issues failed to take place within that period, the farmers’ unions said.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, tweeting shortly after the announcement was made,

said he welcomed the farmers’ decision and called on the centre to resume rail services to the state.

“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,” the Punjab CM said.

“I urge the central government to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith,” he added.

Next week, CM Amarinder Singh is likely to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to push for the resumption of rail services in his state.

The farmers had decided against lifting their blockade on passenger trains on Wednesday,  insisting that the centre must first allow freight trains – which the farmers said they had allowed nearly a month ago – to resume operations. However, citing security concerns, the railways refused to do so. It said that it would operate either both passenger and goods trains or none at all.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is widely seen as being supportive of the farmers’ position, was also irked by their stand. He pointed out that the farmers’ continued blockade of passenger (and consequently freight) trains was affecting the state economy.

“They should realise things can not continue like this… if rail transportation continues to remain suspended any longer, the state (will) plunge into an irreversible crisis,” the Punjab CM had said.

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