Punjab farmers who were protesting against the central government’s farm laws have decided to call off their rail blockade and allow to run passenger trains for 15 days, beginning Monday evening.
However, The farmers’ unions warned that if the government fails to resolve their complaints then they will again block the tracks.
Following declaration of the farmers, the Railways said it would resume goods and passenger train services in Punjab once the state government ensured that the tracks were clear from any blockades. According to the sources, the services would resume from Tuesday.
Thirty farm unions organized a meeting on Saturday morning and later called on Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh.
Balbir Singh Rajewal, BKU-Rajewal chief said that they have allowed 15 days to the BJP-led Central Government to organize talks with them regarding the three controversial farm laws. If the government fails to do so, they will resume their agitations on the property of the Railways.
However, the unions won’t stop their protest outside the residences of BJP leaders and toll plazas and businesses owned by some corporate houses.
The Indian Railways suspended train services in the state of Punjab on September 24 when the farmers started to organize “Rail Roko” protests. In October, even though the farmers permitted the movement of goods trains in Punjab, the Railway Board announced that the rail services will remain discontinued till the protesters clear the railway property.
Sources believe that the Kirti Kisan Union declined to shift the protest from the Railways property, with the argument that this decision would make the farmers appear weak.
According to a report from Amritsar, the Majha-based Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee too was in favour of continuing the agitation, arguing that any discussion with the Centre was pointless.
In his appeal earlier, the CM of the state had urged in his appeal earlier that the farmers should let the train services resume as the blockade had already so far caused a loss of around Rs 40,000 crore to the state. Appealing to the protesters, he had said that a large number of power units had closed down in Ludhiana and Jalandhar due to a lack of raw materials signalling the shortage of coal, fertilisers and other essential commodities caused by the discontinuation of the rail services.