Over 30 farmers’ organizations on Friday cleared railway tracks in Punjab to allow the movement of freight trains following persuasion of the state government, officials said.
“The rail network all across the state of Punjab is presently totally clear for uninterrupted movement of goods trains,” a home department statement said here.
The statement came after Railway Board chairman V.K. Yadav earlier in the day said the railways need 100 per cent security clearance from Punjab to resume operations.
Yadav said as many as 22 sites were still to be cleared of protesters and added partial resumption of services was “not feasible” and that all blockades must be removed.
Rail services in the state have remained suspended since September 24 when farmer organizations organized protests on tracks and station premises against the recently passed farm laws.
The suspension of railway services led to a shortage of supplies in the state.
The protesting farmers said that they have moved their dharnas to parks adjacent to railway stations.
“Thirty farmers’ organizations have cleared all rail tracks in the state,” Darshan Pal, a farmer leader, said.
Some peasant activists were at the railway platform at Jandiala in Amritsar, the Punjab government statement said, adding that senior police officials are in touch with the protesters to persuade them to vacate the railway station.
Train services in Punjab have been suspended since September 24 due to farmers’ protests. While it had resumed for a few days in October, it was suspended again due to concerns over the safety and security of train crew members.
The three farm laws — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 — were enacted recently.
Farmers’ bodies protesting against the laws have expressed apprehension that these would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporate entities. They demand that the laws be withdrawn.
The Centre has asserted that these new laws will be beneficial for farmers and will increase their income.