Centre invitations protesting farm unions of Punjab for talks on Friday

Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10

A two-member ministerial delegation of the BJP-led NDA government is all set to hold talks with the leaders of protesting farmer unions of Punjab on Friday.

A letter from Secretary, Agriculture, Sudhanshu Panday, inviting the union leaders for talks with Agriculture Minister Narinder Singh Tomar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has been sent to the farmer unions on Wednesday evening.

Though the date of the meeting was announced by the state BJP leaders yesterday, the farmer unions had not received a formal invite.

“We will be holding a meeting of all 30 unions, who have joined hands for the protest, at Chandigarh on Thursday. The entire strategy for the meeting with the Centre will be jointly decided, before we go to Delhi,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of BKU Rajewal.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU Dakaunda, said they remained steadfast in their demand that the laws passed by the Centre had to be repealed.

Farmers in Punjab have been protesting against the three agriculture laws passed by the Parliament in September, saying these laws are aimed at corporatising the agriculture sector. While farmers held a Rail Roko protest, sitting on the railway tracks from October 1 to November 3, they have also been holding protests outside the residences of BJP leaders and businesses run by corporate houses.

The farmer unions have only allowed passage to the goods services trains, while they remain adamant that passenger trains would not be allowed to run. The Centre has decided to keep all rail services suspended. As train services in the state remain suspended, the state has suffered huge economic losses.

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