Punjab: BKU (Ugrahan) refuses to lift blockade from rail tracks

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Chandigarh, Oct 29 (PTI) The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) on Thursday refused to lift the blockade from railway tracks through which coal is supplied to two private thermal power plants in Punjab.

A delegation of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) led by its president Joginder Singh Ugrahan met three Punjab ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria over the issue.

Farmers under the banner of BKU (Ugrahan) have been squatting on two rail tracks at Rajpura in Patiala and Banawala village in Mansa in protest against the three farm laws.

Goods train services had resumed in the state after farmer unions on October 21 announced exempting them from their weeks-old 'rail roko' agitation over the Centre's new farm laws.

However, the railways decided to extend its suspension of goods train operations, saying protesting farmers are still blocking the tracks.

Joginder Singh said the protesters have not blocked any main rail track.

'We are agitating outside the private thermal plants. Our people are sitting at two rail tracks of private thermal plants that lead to coal supplies. We will not lift our blockade,' he said.

He said BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) members are also protesting outside shopping malls and fuel pumps, belonging to some corporate houses.

Joginder Singh said the delegation told the ministers to start generating power from the state-owned power plants instead of private ones.

The Centre is trying to 'target' the state government by suspending the goods trains in the state, he claimed.

The suspension of freight trains has hit the coal supplies to power thermal plants in Punjab.

On October 26, the suspension was extended up to October 29.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had sought the Punjab government's assurance of the safety of trains and their crew members to restore freight services, after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had asked him to intervene in resuming the same. PTI CHS VSD SNE