Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday said he had spoken to Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his intervention to ensure restoration of rail services to the State.
The Chief Minister said he discussed the situation with Mr. Shah on November 7 and assured him that there were no law and order concerns to prevent resumption of the services for facilitating supply of essential commodities in Punjab and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu&Kashmir, all of which were suffering colossal losses due to the continued suspension.
Capt. Amarinder said he pointed out that the security concerns could, however, be serious for the nation if essential supplies did not reach the armed forces in Ladakh and the Valley before snowfall.
He said all tracks had been cleared by the farmers for the movement of the freight trains. The situation on the ground was peaceful and conducive for safe transportation of goods. He pointed out that the agitating farmers had not disturbed peace in any part of Punjab over the past few weeks of their protests.
Capt. Amarinder said he told Mr. Shah that he had directed the Punjab police to extend all support to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in providing security on the tracks and the platforms to enable smooth movement of freight trains, and the Kisan Unions had already eased their blockade. He stressed that it was the joint responsibility of the Central and the State governments to ensure that the train services are resumed at the earliest.
The State government, said the Chief Minister, was closely engaged with the farmers’ organisations to persuade them to lift their blockade completely to allow passenger trains also to commute so that Punjabis, including the 1.5 lakh soldiers stationed in various places, could come home for Diwali. Several of his Ministers were in discussions with the farmer unions, he said. On its part, the Central government should take immediate steps to restore normalcy by directing the Railways to commence movement of the goods trains, he said.