Other States

Trains resume in Punjab after two months

Workers cleaning railway tracks in Amritsar on Monday.  

Nearly two months after the rail blockade by Punjab farmers against the Centre’s farm laws, the Railways authorities on Monday operated two goods trains, under its Ferozepur division, and a passenger train.

The trains were run after an inspection of all tracks falling under the division, officials said.

The New Delhi-Una Janshatabdi Express became the first passenger train to depart for Punjab after nearly two months, they added.

However, a farmer outfit in Amritsar has refused to lift its blockade of passenger trains. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said this will put people to major inconvenience and may have grave consequences for the State.

The Ferozepur division caters to needs of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and a part of Himachal Pradesh. Two goods trains, one empty and other loaded, were run at 2 p.m. on Monday, said Divisional Railway Manager (Ferozepur Division) Rajesh Aggarwal. A freight train carrying gypsum from Jammu via Kathua to Lucknow was operated, said Mr. Aggarwal, adding that an empty freight train was started from Jalandhar for Delhi.

Talking to the media, he said a passenger train to Haridwar will resume its operations from Amritsar on Tuesday morning. Other trains will also be resumed, he said.

Passenger train

The New Delhi-Una Janshatabdi Express left the capital on Monday afternoon with 559 passengers on board, officials said.

Train services were suspended in the State since September 24 when the farmers protesting against the new farm laws converged on railway stations and tracks.

While the Northern Railway has announced the restoration of 25 trains, the North Central Railway has announced the resumption of six trains.

The Railways had earlier said it made plans to restore train services to the region, provided they had security clearance.

“After the halt of the farmer agitation on railway tracks and stations in Punjab from November 23, Indian Railways is going to start rail services through Punjab and (in) Punjab,” Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted. “Passengers, farmers and industries will benefit from the removal of the impasse in train operations for the last several days.”

The Railways has said it suffered a loss of ₹2,220 crore due to the blockade.

Farmers protest

The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee has refused to budge from its stand on clearing rail tracks. Capt. Amarinder said by striking the discordant note, the farmers’ union is acting against the interests of Punjab and its people. However, 30 other farmers’ bodies have already announced to lift the blockade.

“When all other farmers’ organisations had decided unanimously to withdraw from the tracks for the next 15 days, this one union’s decision is not understandable,” said Capt. Amarinder.

He said the committee should not do anything to derail the process of negotiation and discussion.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 4:54:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/trains-resume-in-punjab-after-two-months/article33164944.ece

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