Trains suspension: Pb CM urges Centre to show ‘magnanimity’

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Chandigarh, Nov 19 (PTI) With Punjab farmers bent upon not allowing passenger train movements through the state, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged the Centre to show magnanimity and not link the restoration of freight train service with that of the passenger ones.

Singh also urged the Union government to support his government in creating a congenial environment for ending the prolonged farmers' agitation, which, he said, will have grave repercussions for the state and the nation.

The deadlock between protesting farmers and the Railways continued over the issue of resumption of trains. Punjab farmers' bodies had on Wednesday said they would consider allowing passenger trains to run in the state if the Centre starts running the goods trains first.

The Railways, however, has refused to resume goods trains, saying it would either operate both freight and passenger trains or none.

The suspension of goods trains has hit the supplies of fertilizers for the agriculture sector and coal for thermal power plants, besides adversely affecting the industry.

Chief Minister Singh on Thursday said it was the joint responsibility of both the state and the Centre to provide a conducive environment for resolving the current crisis resulting from the suspension of train services.

According to a government statement, Singh is likely to meet the Kisan unions soon in Chandigarh, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

The CM said he intended to hold discussions with farmers' representatives and also to meet the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister on the issue, which has resulted in massive losses to the state exchequer and caused irrevocable damage to the 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 is hurting not just Punjab but also the neighbouring states, he noted.

Even the armed forces in Ladakh and Kashmir have been hit hard as their supplies have been seriously affected by the prolonged interruption of services, he said.

The situation needed to be resolved urgently, said the Punjab chief minister, requesting the central government to show generosity in the matter in the light of the farmers' decision to consider lifting the 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 has extended full support in their fight against the farm laws, to restore normalcy.

Neither Punjab nor the nation can afford to allow the situation to continue indefinitely in this manner, he said. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX