Amid suspension of goods trains to Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged the Centre to show magnanimity and not link restoration of freight services with movement of passenger trains. He also asked the central government to support the state government in creating a congenial environment for ending the prolonged farmers’ agitation.
A government statement said that the CM is likely to hold meetings soon with the farmer unions in Chandigarh, as well as the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister in Delhi.
“It was the joint responsibility of both, the state and the central governments, to provide a conducive environment for resolving the current crisis resulting from suspension of train services,” the Chief Minister said in the statement.
The Chief Minister said he intended to hold discussions with the farmers’ representatives, and also to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the issue, which was resulting in massive losses to the state exchequer every day, while causing irrevocable damage to industry and agriculture. He would urge both sides to take proactive steps to find an amicable solution to the problem, he added.
“The continued suspension of the rail movement was hurting not just Punjab but also the neighbouring states,” he noted, adding that even the armed forces in Ladakh and Kashmir had been hit hard as their supplies had been seriously affected by the prolonged interruption of services.
The situation needed to be resolved urgently, said Amarinder, requesting the central government to show generosity in the matter in the light of the farmers’ decision to consider lifting blockade of passenger trains too, once freight services are resumed in Punjab. At the same time, he said the farmers should also ease their blockade of passenger trains to enable the state government, which had extended its full support in their fight against the farm laws, to restore normalcy.
Neither Punjab nor the nation could afford to allow the situation to continue indefinitely in this manner, he stressed, pointing to the crores of rupees in losses being suffered by the industry and economy in the state. The agriculture sector was also badly affected as the movement of foodgrains, fertilizers, urea etc. had been hit hard due to the rail blockade, he added.
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