With the ongoing protests in Farmers’ protests in Punjab against the three farm ordinances despite the previous negotiations with the NDA, The Norther
With the ongoing protests in Farmers’ protests in Punjab against the three farm ordinances despite the previous negotiations with the NDA, The Northern Division of the Indian Railways cancelled thirty trains from the state of Punjab. Along with these thirty trains, The northern railways short-terminated eleven trains. It also cancelled nine express trains and twenty-seven festival special trains. It has been more than a month since the trains have been cancelled and almost all railway services have stopped in the state. The supply of essential goods has been severely hit as even the goods trains are facing difficulty entering and passing through the state. Keeping in mind the safety of train drivers and station masters, the union railways ministry decided to stop all railway services in Punjab as the trains were being continuously blocked which led to the disruption of the services.
Freight trains that were supposed to run on 16th of November carrying supplies like coal, cement and fertilizers were also cancelled. According to the data released by the Ministry of Railways, over a thousand passenger trains and three thousand freight trains have been cancelled till now. The cancellation has caused a problem with the public as the festive season is generally a time when the travel through trains is at its peak. According to the Railways spokesperson, 30-40 trains are being cancelled on a daily basis and with the occupancy in trains touching ninety per cent during holidays, the loss has been both ways.
The railways have also said that the bookings can’t be stopped due to which it has been incurring heavy losses in terms of refunds to the passengers.
The northern railways were already running about five to six special trains in Punjab during the month of October due to the onset of the festive season but were scaled up as more and more special trains were being announced by the government for the festive season throughout the country. Many freight customers have been forced to switch to other modes of transport as heavy losses were being incurred by them due to the cancellations.
According to the claims by the protesting farmers, the tracks have been cleared by them and that they will only be allowing goods trains to enter Punjab. The Indian Railways have stated that it will either run both passenger and freight trains or none. It has also asked for assurance of security from the Amrinder Singh government before resuming services in the state. It’s the farmers’ agitation that made the railways cancel all the trains to Mata Vaishno Devi.
The farmers have been protesting to repeal the introduction of the three farm ordinances introduced by the NDA government and have been passed by the parliament:
- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020
The previous week, the government and the Farmers’ association had held a meeting chaired by Minister of Agriculture Shri Narendra Singh Tomar where both the parties had placed their points in front of each other for discussion but despite seven hours of deliberations, the meeting was inconclusive and it was clear that both the parties were far from a common point.