Reiterating his and his government’s full support to the agitating farmers in their fight against the Centre’s ‘black’ farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday 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.
In an appeal to the protesting farmers, he 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 five-six 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 Amarinder Singh, with not a single fertiliser rake entering Punjab for the past one week, there could be severe shortage of fertiliser for use by farmers for sowing of the wheat crop.
There is, therefore, urgent need to allow inflow of fertiliser 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.