Punjab farmers to temporarily lift train blockade from Monday
Punjab's farmer bodies on Saturday decided to lift their rail blockade, which had been imposed in protest of the Centre's contentious new farm laws. Farmer bodies said they will allow the movement of passenger and freight trains to resume from Monday night. They warned that the blockade would be re-imposed after 15 days if the government failed to address and resolve their issues.
Farmer bodies accede to Punjab CM's demands
Kisan Unions acceded to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's appeals to lift the blockade which, Singh said, caused Rs. 40,000 crore losses to the state. Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal) President Balbir Singh Rajewal announced the decision at a meeting of Kisan Union representatives in Chandigarh. Farmer leaders urged all state political parties to support them in the fight against the Centre's farm laws.
CM shared delight over lifting of blockade
Had a fruitful meeting with Kisan Unions. Happy to share that starting 23rd Nov night, Kisan Unions have decided to end rail blockades for 15 days. I welcome this step since it will restore normalcy to our economy. I urge Central Govt to resume rail services to Punjab forthwith. pic.twitter.com/shmIZPHFR0— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) November 21, 2020
CM urged Centre to restore trains to state
The CM thanked the unions for accepting his request. He urged the Centre to restore all train services in the state and continue talks with farmer representatives in the state. He also said that eliminating the MSP (Minimum Support Price) system—a major concern with the farm laws—would wreak havoc on farmers. Those sitting in Delhi remain unaware of the law's implications, he said.
CM also highlighted issues with Centre's laws
Singh said that farmers cannot go to corporates for emergent needs and stressed the importance of the agricultural marketing system, which had flourished on the close relationship between farmers and Arhityas (commission agents). Singh also asked how the state could survive and build its rural infrastructure if it stopped receiving Mandi Board Fees, as planned by the Centre.
CM vows to address farmers' other demands soon
Singh also promised the farmer representatives that he will address their other demands, including the sugarcane price hike, clearance of dues, and the withdrawal of FIRs in stubble burning cases. He is expected to hold talks with them over these issues within the next week.
Pakistan trying to disrupt peace in Punjab: Singh
Singh said the Centre's decision to engage with the farmers indicates that they now realize the repercussions of the farm laws. He also pointed out Pakistan's efforts to disrupt peace, mentioning the seizure of a large number of arms and ammunition along the Punjab border. He had earlier said his government would not interfere with the peaceful blockade, as it was their democratic right.