Farmer unions in Punjab may change tack on ‘rail roko’, to decide today - ECAS Punjab

Farmer unions in Punjab may change tack on ‘rail roko’, to decide today

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 20

After nearly two months of the "rail roko" campaign, which has led to an economic blockade of Punjab, the 30 farmer unions are likely to withdraw the protest and shift the agitation to outside residences of BJP leaders and businesses run by corporate houses.

A final decision in this regard is expected to be taken at a meeting of the 30 unions tomorrow, before they hold a meeting with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The latter has been asking the protesting farmers to vacate all railway property so that train services to the state can be resumed.

Of the 30 unions that are jointly holding protests against the three farm laws, at least 14 had expressed their opinion to vacate all railway property during a meeting on Wednesday.

The unions are not just under pressure from the Centre and state government, but also from the industry to change their protest tactics and help lift the "economic blockade" imposed on the state as the Centre has refused to resume train services till all railway property was vacated by the protesters. Farmers are presently sitting in protest on railway land, other than tracks and platforms.

Some of the farmer union leaders have told The Tribune while they are interested in vacating the railway land immediately to ensure the train services are resumed, others feel the protest locations should be changed only after November 26 — when the unions March towards Delhi.

Dr Darshal Pal of the Krantikari Kisan Union said the Centre had created a volatile situation and that the unions would not succumb to their tactics. "We have already allowed freight trains to operate and vacated tracks and platforms. Allowing passenger trains is a very small thing, as we look at re-strategising our protest and take it right to Delhi," he said.

Leaders to meet Capt Amarinder

Union leaders will meet CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday to discuss issues including non-payment of subsidy for machines bought for stubble management; release of dues to cane growers; and ensuring the urea produced in the two NFL plants in Punjab was distributed solely to state farmers.

from The Tribune

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