Suspension of trains: SAD asks Punjab govt, Centre to hold talks

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Chandigarh, Nov 10 (PTI) The Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday expressed concern at the economic loss caused to farmers and the industry due to the suspension of freight trains and asked the Centre and the state government to hold talks to resolve the issue.

The party’s core committee that met on Tuesday said the state is paying a heavy price due to the ongoing “fixed match” between the BJP-led Centre and the Congress government in Punjab.

The train services in Punjab are suspended since September 24, when farmers started their “rail roko” agitation against the central laws.

While farmers have lifted their dharnas from rail tracks for the resumption of freight trains, the Centre wants movement of passenger trains as well with complete security.

Commenting on it, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said while farmers are not getting the supply of much needed fertilisers for the sowing of wheat crop, the trade and industry is losing crores of rupees on a daily basis. “Even as the state's economy is bleeding, there is a danger of social unrest spoiling the peace of Punjab,' Badal added according to a party release.

Asking the Centre and the state government to hold talks over the issue, the party's core committee also accused Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of playing a “double game” and hatching a “conspiracy” to pit farmers against the industry in the state.

'It appears the chief minister is deliberately not taking any initiative to resolve the current imbroglio because he feels that the more the issue lingers on, the more attention will be diverted from the failures of his government,” Badal said during the committee meeting.

The SAD president said the chief minister preferred to go to Delhi to hold a one-hour “sham dharna” but did not meet the railway minister or the prime minister to ensure that freight trains resume in Punjab.

“Even now he is not engaging in any dialogue with the Centre and has left Punjabis to their fate. Such an attitude can have dangerous fallout for the industrial sector in Punjab which is witnessing huge losses due to non-availability of raw materials as well as pile up of finished goods,” Badal said.

We want that all issues of trade and industry, including refunds of the GST, are resolved at the earliest to ensure that there is no flight of capital from the state, Badal said.

The SAD chief also accused the chief minister of 'accepting' the central farm laws by not declaring the entire state a 'mandi'.

This pointed to the fact that the Congress government in Punjab is working as per dictates of the Centre, he said.

'This is why the state government did not pass a Bill making the entire state a mandi which would have made the central agriculture marketing acts redundant in Punjab,' he added. PTI VSD RDK RDK