Punjab farmers slam Centre for not resuming goods trains

Railways to either operate both freight and passenger trains or none

November 08, 2020 12:54 am | Updated 12:54 am IST - Chandigarh

Farmers blocking railway tracks in Amritsar.

Farmers blocking railway tracks in Amritsar.

Farmer organisations protesting against the farm laws on Saturday slammed the Centre for not resuming goods trains in Punjab even as they stuck to their stand of not allowing passenger trains. They also accused the Centre of adopting a stubborn attitude and alleged that it wanted to cause harm to Punjab on the economic front for raising voice against the three legislations enacted recently.

The Railways on Saturday declined to resume goods trains in Punjab, saying it will either operate both freight and passenger trains or none.

The train services in Punjab are suspended since September 24, when farmers started their ‘rail roko’ agitation against the Central laws.

Goods trains had resumed in the State briefly after farmer unions on October 21 announced exempting them from their stir but the Railways suspended them again, saying farmers were still blocking the tracks.

“We strongly condemn the stubborn attitude of the Railways and the Centre for not resuming goods trains in the State,” said Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal.

However, the 30 farmers’ organisations protesting the farm laws maintained that they will not allow passenger trains. “The farmers’ bodies have already announced they will allow only goods trains and not passenger trains,” said BKU (Dakunda) president Buta Singh Burjgill.

“The Central government wants to harm Punjab on the economic front by making baseless excuses,” he added.

The Punjab government on Friday had said, “Rail network all across the State is presently totally clear for uninterrupted movement of goods trains.”

Power crisis

The suspension of goods trains has led to a power crisis as coal supplies to thermal plants have been hit. It has also adversely affected the supply of fertilizers for rabi crops, movement of foodgrain stocks besides impacting the State industry which is unable to get raw material and send finished goods outside.

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