Other States

Farmers in Amritsar continue to refuse to let passenger trains ply

Farmers shout slogans as they block a railway track during a protest at the Jandiala railway station before dawn on the outskirts of Amritsar November 24, 2020. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

After the Railways resumed train services to Punjab, farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee on Tuesday blocked the track at the Jandiala station in Amritsar district to stop plying of passenger trains as part of their “rail roko” agitation against the Centre’s agriculture laws.

Sarvan Singh Pandher, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti, said they would let the goods trains go but not the passenger trains till the Centre accedes to their demands.

“We squatted on the track near the Jandiala railway station to stop passenger trains in the morning. However, we don’t have any problem for the movement of the goods trains and we allowed them to ply. We have decided to stage a protest near the railway track. Also, we will squat on it everyday for two hours between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.,” he told The Hindu.

Mr. Singh said a group of five members of the outfit will stay at the station to check whether the plying train is passenger or goods. 

The Union government has invited the farmer unions for the second round of ministerial talks on the farm laws on December 3.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was happy to note that the Central government had reportedly invited the farmer organisations for talks.

“It was vital for Punjab’s interests that the matter be resolved as soon as possible,” said Capt. Amarinder, expressing satisfaction at the fact that both the farmer unions and the Centre had shown flexibility and intent to come to an amicable solution.

He expressed the hope that the Central government will take into account the long-term implications of the farm laws and the grave repercussions these would have not just for Punjab and its farmers but the nation’s agriculture sector and food security.

As supplies of essential commodities were finally being restored with the resumption of goods train services after about two months, the Chief Minister has asked Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to coordinate with various departments to ensure seamless movement of the raw materials to power plants and industry.

Ms. Vini said a team of officials was managing the process ensuring that the most important raw materials are rushed to the industrial units concerned through the various departments.

Amritsar-bound trains diverted

Meanwhile, the Railways on Tuesday diverted several Amritsar-bound trains as the farmer body protest against the Centre’s farm laws refused to clear a track.

The Railways had resumed its services on Monday after around 30 farmer bodies agreed to lift their blockage of passenger trains for 15 days last week. However, farmers protesting under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee refused to clear the track, a move criticised by Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Monday.

Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira on Tuesday said the farmer body has blocked a rail track at the Jandiala railway station, 25 km from Amritsar. Due to it, many Amritsar-bound trains were diverted to Tarn Taran, officials said, adding that some of the trains were stopped at the Beas railway station on Tuesday morning.

Passengers were taken to Amritsar through buses and other vehicles, they said. Mr. Khaira told reporters that officials held a series of meetings with representatives of the committee to persuade them to lift their blockade. But they remained adamant, he said. The deputy commissioner said the State government has no intention of using force to remove protesters from the rail track.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 2:18:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amritsar-bound-trains-diverted-as-farmer-body-refuses-to-clear-track/article33168880.ece

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