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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Farmers to consider Capt Amarinder Singh’s appeal for easing ‘rail roko’

BKU (Lakhowal) withdraws petition against farm laws from Supreme Court.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | October 7, 2020 11:00:57 am
Farmers protests, Amritsar farmers agitation, Rail roko, Fram bills, India news, Indian expressProtesting against the new farm laws, farmers sit at the Railway station in Jalandhar, Punjab for an indefinite period as part of their rail roko agitation (File/Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh )

Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) Tuesday withdrew a petition it had filed in the Supreme Court Monday demanding that the three farm laws recently enacted by the Centre be declared as unconstitutional on the grounds that Parliament is not empowered to legislate on agriculture, which is a state subject.

“We had filed the petition Monday. The petition needed to be modified and re-submitted. However, as the remaining 30 farmers’ unions raised objections, we decided not to file it again. We will go by what all the 31 farm unions decide unanimously,” said Bharti Kisan Union (Lakhowal) president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal.

Asked when all 31 farm unions are now sharing a common platform in their protest against the three recently enacted farm laws, why only his outfit moved the apex court, Lakhowal said, “Advocates convinced us that the case is very strong and we must fight it out legally. Hence, we had filed the petition. But as our fellow farm unions raised objections, we decided not to move ahead”.

Contacted, Jagmohan Singh, member of Punjab unit of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), said, “We have no trust in the legal process. It may take years to before we get justice. We will continue with path of struggle.”

Meanwhile, the farmer’ bodies said they will discuss Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s appeal for relaxing their ongoing ‘rail roko’ agitation to allow movement of goods trains in the larger interest of the state.

“We will consider the CM’s appeal in the meeting tomorrow,” Krantikari Kisan Union president Darshan Pal said.

Jagmohan Singh Patiala, member AIKSCC and general secretary BKU (Dakonda) added that they were approached by officials from the Government of Punjab on the issue. “We don’t want anyone in Punjab to be inconvenienced.”

The CM had on Monday urged the protesting farmers to ease their rail blockade to ensure that the state can meet its critical needs. He had said due to the prolonged blockade of goods trains, not a single fertilizer rake entering Punjab for the past one week, there could be a severe shortage of fertilizer for the use by farmers sowing the wheat crop. He had further said that situation at Punjab’s coal plants was critical and they were left with only five to six days of coal.

A Venuprasad, chairman-cum-managing director of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) Tuesday said, “Talwandi Sabo Thermal Plant has coal stock of four days while Nabha Power Limited has seven day’s stock. GVK Thermal Plant at Goindwal Sahib has coal stock of only two days.”

Different farm outfits had stepped up their agitation by resorting to blocking rail tracks for an indefinite period from October 1. Farmers under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, however, have been squatting at rail tracks since September 24. At present, farmers continue to block rail tracks at 33 places in the state. Besides, they have also staged sit-ins outside (more than 30) petrol pumps, (17) toll plazas, and (five) shopping malls.

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