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Farm laws | Punjab farmers to lift rail blockade from November 23

A meeting of representatives of farmer leaders with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh.   | Photo Credit: Twitter/@capt_amarinder

Members of 30 farmers’ outfits in Punjab on Saturday decided to lift the rail blockade on November 23, after nearly two months of their protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws.

The Railways had suspended train services to the State after the farmers began their rail roko agitation on October 1.

Also read | Punjab farmers’ protest at toll plazas: NHAI suffers ₹150 crore revenue loss

“We have decided to lift the rail blockade by the evening of November 23; so from November 24, both passenger and goods trains can have a smooth movement. The decision has been taken keeping in view the problems being faced by the people of Punjab — be it traders, industrialists or workers. Already, we announced on October 21 that movement of goods trains would be allowed, but the Central government is not running them,” Jagmohan Singh, general secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), told The Hindu, after a joint meeting of farmers’ outfits here.

They also held a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

“We, however, want to make it clear that we are allowing the movement of trains for 15 days from November 24. If, in the meantime, our demands are not met or talks by the Central government are not held with regard to our demands, we will resume our ‘rail roko’ agitation,” Mr. Singh said.

Ground Zero | Punjab farmer agitation: Goods, not protests, stopped in their tracks

Protests to continue

Mr. Singh added that members of farmers’ outfits would continue to stage protests outside the residences of BJP leaders and business establishments of ‘corporates’. “Besides, we are all set for the protest on November 26 and 27 in Delhi,” he said.

Soon after the announcement by the outfits, Capt. Amarinder Singh urged the Central government to reciprocate by restoring all train services in the State, and also to hold further talks with the farmer representatives to resolve the crisis over the farm laws.

He assured the farmer leaders that he would meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister soon to press their demands.

Farm laws | Punjab BJP sets up 8-member panel to talk to farmers

“Let us together put pressure on the Centre to see our point of view and understand how these laws would ruin Punjab,” he said, adding that he was with the farmers in their fight. “We all have farmer blood in our veins,” he said.

The Chief Minister also promised the farmer representatives that he would look into their other demands, including those relating to sugarcane price hike and clearance of dues, as well as withdrawal of FIRs registered in stubble burning cases. He said he would hold talks with them on these issues within the next one week, and would also set up a committee of officers to discuss the matter.

In his appeal earlier, the Chief Minister said his government would not interfere in their peaceful agitation, which was their democratic right. Terming the fight against the Central legislations a partnership between the State government and the farmers, he said: “We have to protect Punjab’s interests together.”

The railway blockade had caused ₹40,000 crore in losses to the State so far.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Kotkapura State farmer wing president Kultar Singh wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, urging him to take steps to ensure hassle-free supply of urea to farmers so that they could sow wheat on time.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 9:31:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/agitating-punjab-farmers-agree-to-allow-passenger-train-movement-from-november-23/article33149466.ece

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