Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought the personal intervention of Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for immediate restoration of goods train movement in Punjab. However, the Centre has demanded the state government to guarantee the safety of railway staff if they restore the goods train movement.
It is to be noted that the railways ministry had banned the movement of goods train for two days (24th and 25th October). However, now the centre has decided to extend the ban for four more days, despite the partial withdrawal of the decision by the farmers to stop the rail. It has been reported that goods worth Rupees 24 thousand crore have been stuck in the state due to the stoppage of goods trains.
The Chief Minister said that the railways’ decision not to run goods trains in Punjab could reduce the success achieved so far as the state government’s efforts to negotiate with farmers. He also warned that this decision of the railways could provoke farmers protesting against central agricultural laws.
Citing the serious effects of not restoring freight trains by the railways, the Chief Minister wrote a letter to Piyush Goyal expressing serious concern saying, “not only will Punjab face serious disruption in economic activities and shortage of essential supplies, but Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Leh and Ladakh will also face serious economic crisis.”
He cited appeals made to the state government from different quarters, including Central ministries and departments, for immediate resumption of freight movement through the state. The Punjab Chief Minister in his semi-official letter to Goyal pointed that state government had succeeded in convincing the farmer unions to allow the partial resumption of services with withdrawal of their blockade from October 22. However, after the restoration of movement of freight trains on October 23, the Railways unilaterally stopped the movement of all freight trains in the state. The Chief Minister said that even though the trains were running under lockdown, the passenger trains were completely closed during that time.
Later, On the instructions of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan interacted with the Chairman of the Railway Board who informed that the CM has formed a committee of three ministers to end the ‘Rail Roko’ movement and also to restore the passenger trains.
Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. In this letter, he has said to ensure complete restoration of railway services in Punjab. The letter said, “Ensure complete safety, clear track and safety of the agitators for all trains in Punjab.
SAD President Sukhbir Badal said that the siege of goods trains in Punjab could lead to an economic blockade of a sensitive border state. He added that this approach gives the smell of unnecessary and unintentional confrontation, which will never benefit anyone. Given the interest of Punjab, the central and state government should resolve it rather than confrontation.
Badal said, “The decision to increase the ban on goods trains in Punjab would completely ruin the entire business, trade and industry apart from farming. This decision needs to be reversed immediately. Do not punish the patriotic and peace-loving people of Punjab for demanding their democratic rights. “ Punjab President and MP of AamAadmi Party, Bhagwant Mann, condemned the Central Government to stop the goods trains in Punjab, saying that the Prime Minister has come out on revenge with Punjab after dodging the struggle and solidarity. He said that the Prime Minister is running away from listening to his farmers because Modi loves the interests of corporate houses like Ambani and Adani.