Rail blockades in Punjab result of state government's 'inaction': Javadekar

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New Delhi, Nov 4 (PTI) Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday blamed the Punjab government's 'inaction' for disruption of rail services in the state due to blockades by farmers and said it was the responsibility of the state to get the obstructions cleared.

He said smooth passage of passenger and goods trains was in the interest of everyone and the Centre was keen that rail traffic got restored soon.

The Union minister said Punjab's farmers had sold a record 158 lakh metric tonnes of paddy, which proved they were happy after getting higher MSP for their produce and the misinformation against the new farm laws was 'proved wrong'.

Addressing the media after a Cabinet meeting, Javadekar said there was blockade at 32 places in Punjab with farmers sitting on rail tracks in protest.

'It is the inaction of the state government. Law and order is the responsibility of the state government and it is their job to get the tracks cleared of blockades. But, they have not done it.

'The removal of rail blockades for the smooth passage of passenger and goods trains is in the interest of everyone. For winters, we have to move LPG cylinders and clothing for forces deployed in forward areas,' he said in response to a question.

Javadekar wondered whether the agitation was political in nature and in support of commissioned agents as farmers had benefitted by selling their produce at a higher MSP.

'Is it a political agitation or in support of commissioned agents. The misinformation spread about closure of mandis after the new farm laws has been proved wrong as farmers in the state have sold their produce higher than MSP,' he said.

The Union minister said the Central government has ensured that Punjab gets power supply from central grid. He also said the Centre wants to start rail traffic, both passenger and goods, as soon as possible.

The agitation by farmers in Punjab against the Centre's three farm reforms began around September 24. The farmers have expressed apprehension that the recently enacted laws would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporates. PTI SKC NAB NSD NSD