Don’t provoke farmers, warns Punjab CM as he seeks goods trains back on rails

Don’t provoke farmers, warns Punjab CM as he seeks goods trains back on rails
Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab

Says the move could seriously disrupt supplies to J&K, Leh and Ladakh too

Writes to Railways minister for immediate restoration of the freight movement

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought the personal intervention of Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal for the immediate restoration of freight movement, which remains suspended in and through the state even after the farmers’ decision to partially lift their blockade.

The Chief Minister spoke to the Union Minister on Monday in the light of the decision of the Railways to extend the ban on movement of goods trains, initially imposed for two days (on October 24 and 25), for another four days.

The decision of the Railways to discontinue freight movement in Punjab subsequent to partial success of negotiations with the farmers had negated the efforts of the State so far, said the Chief Minister, warning that the move may, in fact, further provoke the agitated farmers protesting against the Centre’s farm laws.

Citing the grave impact of the non-restoration of freight traffic by the Railways, the Chief Minister also wrote to Goyal expressing serious concern that if the freight movement is not started immediately, “not only Punjab will face serious disruption in economic activities and shortage of essential supplies, but Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Leh & Ladakh will also face serious economic crisis.”

He cited various requests received by the state government from different quarters, including Central Ministries and Departments, for immediate resumption of freight movement through Punjab. Earlier, the state government, through constant engagement in negotiations with the Kisan Unions, had succeeded in convincing them to allow partial resumption of services with withdrawal of their blockade from October 22. However, after restoration of movement of freight trains on October 23, the Railways had unilaterally stopped movement of all freight trains in Punjab, pointed out the CM in his DO letter.

Incidentally, pointed out the Chief Minister, freight trains had continued almost uninterruptedly throughout the lockdown period even when the passenger trains operations were completely stopped. “There is now no plausible reason to stop freight operations in and through Punjab,” he said, adding that his government was also continuing with its efforts to persuade the protesting farmers to restore the passenger railway traffic also.

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