Chandigarh, Nov 19 (IANS) Stepping up his efforts to resolve the crisis, 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, and to support the state in creating a congenial environment for ending the prolonged farmers’ agitation.
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, said the Chief Minister, who is likely to hold meetings soon with the Kisan Unions in Chandigarh, as well as the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister in Delhi.
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 Singh in a statement, 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.