Punjab farmers who had set up rail blockades across the state to protest the centre’s controversial farm laws will allow trains (both passenger and goods) to resume service from Monday night, it was announced after a meeting between farmers’ unions and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
The farmers’ unions said it would lift the blockade for a 15-day period, but warned that it would be re-imposed if talks to address and resolve their issues failed to take place within that period.
Amarinder Singh, tweeting shortly after the announcement was made, said he welcomed the farmers’ decision and urged the centre to resume rail services to the state.
“Had a fruitful meeting with kisan (farmers’) unions. Happy to share that starting November 23 night, kisan unions have decided to end rail blockade for 15 days. I welcome this step since it will restore normalcy to our economy. I urge the central government to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith,” Mr Singh tweeted.
The Railways had stopped all passenger and goods trains in Punjab after vociferous protests by farmers saw blocked highways and rail rokos at more than two dozen locations across the state. The farmers said their protests would continue if the centre did not accept their demands, which included an immediate repeal of the three farm laws.
The blockade led to losses to the state economy worth Rs 22,000 crore, minister Sunder Sham Arora told news agency PTI. The Railways has suffered an estimated Rs 1,200 crore loss.