Even as he reiterated his and his government’s full support to the agitating farmers in their fight against the Centre’s black Farm Laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday night appealed to them to relax their ongoing Rail Roko protest to allow goods trains to pass through, in the interest of the state and its people, including the farmers themselves.
In an appeal to the protesting farmers, the Chief Minister urged them to ease their rail blockade in order to ensure that the state is able to meet its critical needs and ensure that the citizens, including the farming community, are not put to any serious inconvenience in the coming days.
The Chief Minister pointed out that due to the prolonged blockade of goods trains, the situation at Punjab’s coal plants is critical and they are left with only 5-6 days of coal. Once the supplies run out, the government will be forced to shut down these plants, which will severely impact the state’s electricity supply and cause immense hardship to the citizens, he noted.
Further, said Captain Amarinder, with not a single fertilizer rake entering Punjab for the past one week, there could be severe shortage of fertilizer for use by farmers for sowing of the wheat crop. There is, therefore, urgent need to allow inflow of fertilizer rakes into the state to ensure that there are sufficient stocks for the Rabi season, he said.
The Chief Minister also pointed to the need to create space for storage of rice and wheat, to be harvested by Punjab’s farmers in the coming seasons. For this, the existing stocks of these foodgrains would have to be lifted and dispatched by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to other parts of the country, he stressed.
Captain Amarinder appealed to the farmers to take cognisance of these grave concerns and let goods trains to ply through Punjab in order to allow movement of coal, fertilizers and food grains. Such movement was essential to prevent any serious inconvenience to the farmers and other Punjabis, he said, exhorting the Kisan Unions to heed his personal request in the larger interest of the state.