Run items trains in Punjab first, will then contemplate permitting passenger ones: Farm unions to Centre

Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18

“First allow the goods trains to operate in Punjab, which will signal the lifting of the state’s economic blockade. Only then, will we consider allowing the passenger trains to operate in the state.”

This was the main decision taken by the 30 farmer unions that met here on Wednesday, to discuss the further course of action in the ongoing farmers’ agitation. After deliberating for over five hours, the unions said the Centre must show its good intent by allowing goods trains to operate.

The union leaders said they were under pressure from the industry as well as the state government to stop the agitation on the railway property (farmers are no longer on the tracks or railway platforms, but protesting on railway parking and other lands), as the Union Railway Ministry and the Railways Board has refused to revoke the suspension of trains. “We would like to tell the industrialists that we are fighting for a just cause, which is directly linked to the state’s economy. The Centre is responsible for keeping train services suspended… not us,” said Rajinder Singh Deepsinghwala of Krantikari Kisan Union, adding that the agitation would continue.

During the marathon meeting today, discussion was also held on the last week’s meeting with Central ministers in Delhi. It is learnt that all unions unanimously rejected the suggestion that the three Farm Acts would benefit farmers. They criticised the Centre for disallowing them the rally venue at Delhi for the agitation on November 26-27, and vowed to make the agitation a grand success.

Ruldu Singh Mansa, president of Punjab Kisan Union, who chaired the meeting today, said they also discussed the routes that the farmers will be taking to reach Delhi, as efforts will be made to stop their march to the capital. “All district committees will be meeting on November 21, to chalk out their plan,” he said.

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