The stalemate over the farm laws between the farmers of Punjab and the Centre seems no signs of abating even after negotiations between the members of farmer unions and the state Cabinet ministers. Farmer unions have refused to backtrack saying that they will allow passenger trains to be run only when their demands are met. One of their prominent demands is the running of goods trains in the state.
It needs to be stated that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has expressed his displeasure over the developments in the state in the past month and a half which have caused enormous hardships for the common folk and loss to the exchequer.
The meeting between the heads of various farmers’ unions and state cabinet ministers held in Chandigarh did not yield much results as the framers are still protesting on the tracks. The ministers who took part in the meeting appealed to the farmers to allow goods trains to run so that the necessary raw materials and finished goods reach their destination in time.
Bharatiya Kisan Union president Ruldu Singh Mansa, while talking to the media after the meeting, asked: “They did not stop trains to Rajasthan during the Gujjars’ ‘rail roko’. Why do they want Punjab farmers to relent? Why are there different rules?” He further said: “The day the Centre starts running goods trains on these tracks, I promise that the next day we will take a positive decision towards passenger trains also.”
Incidentally, a ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest call has already been given by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) which is a body of more than 200 farmers’ organisations across the country. It is expected that farmers from across the country will descend on Delhi on November 26 and 27 on tractors and trolleys. It needs to be mentioned that trade unions across the country have given a strike call on November 26 to protest against the Central government’s measures against workers and farmers.
Earlier, Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh had said, in view of the state government’s absolute support for their cause, that he expected the farmers to “back down from their unyielding approach in the interest of Punjab”. The blockade of trains in Punjab has greatly disrupted the traffic to Jammu and Kashmir.