Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 21.
The protesting farmer unions in Punjab have decided to allow passage to all trains in the state from Monday evening. However, the trains have been allowed only for 15 days.
A decision to this effect was taken in the meeting of 30 farmer unions held here on Saturday morning. It has been decided that they will allow all trains to pass through only for 15 days, giving this time to the BJP-led Central government to start talks with them on the three controversial Agriculture Laws passed by the Parliament in September.
The unions will be concentrating their protests outside residences of BJP leaders and businesses owned by corporates, while preparing for their protest in Delhi on November 26-27.
Had a fruitful meeting with Kisan Unions. Happy to share that starting 23rd Nov night, Kisan Unions have decided to end rail blockades for 15 days. I welcome this step since it will restore normalcy to our economy. I urge Central Govt to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith. pic.twitter.com/shmIZPHFR0
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) November 21, 2020
Train services in the state have been suspended for almost two months now. Earlier, farmers were protesting on the railway tracks, and it was only in October end that they allowed to the goods trains to pass through the state.
Trains were allowed to operate for two days, before the Railway Board, again, refused to resume services till all railway property was vacated by the protesting farmers and passenger trains too were allowed to operate.
Interestingly, it is learnt that Kirti Kisan Union did not agree with the decision to shift the protest from railway land, and decided to stay away from the meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, scheduled later in the day.
Other than Kirti Kisan Union, all other 29 unions later met the Chief Minister and conveyed their decision to stop the protest on railway land. They are also learnt to have discussed other issues with the CM, like subsidy on stubble management machines, releasing dues of cane growers, etc. The CM is learnt to have assured them that these issues will be resolved at the earliest.
Sources said the union felt a decision to stop agitation at the railway tracks would make the farmers appear weak and bowing to the pressure of the BJP-led Central government. The other unions, however, reportedly overruled their objection saying that it was allowing the Centre to economically block the state, and they could ill-afford to turn industry and trade against them.