Chandigarh [India], November 9 (ANI): Urging the agitating farmers to allow "Punjabis, including soldiers," to come back home for Diwali, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday appealed to the state kisan unions to lift their rail blockade completely, thus allowing the movement of passenger trains as well.
The farmers, however, refused to budge till the central government revoked all three new farm laws.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, the chief minister urged the farmer organisations to take note of the Centre's move to hold talks with them, besides the inconvenience being caused to lakhs of Punjabis, including soldiers, who were unable to come home for Diwali due to the suspension of trains in the state.
"Ending the rail blockade would facilitate these soldiers and others to join their families in the celebrations," said the CM.
The statement said Captain expressed hope that the talks to be convened by the Government of India on November 13 would pave the way for early resolution of the crisis, triggered by the central legislation on agriculture.
"The farmers' anger has clearly reached the central government, which seems to be finally prepared to hear them out. The move indicates that the Centre is open to finding an amicable solution to the problems in the wake of the enactment of these laws. Now that the message they want to communicate has reached the Centre, the unions should step back from their agitation and join the talks with the spirit of resolving the issue," he stated.
Pointing out that his government has stood by the farmers despite massive economic and other problems being caused to the state and its people, Singh said he was confident that the unions would now respond by supporting its efforts to ease the situation in the larger interest of all stakeholders.
But S S Pandayer, General Secretary of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, said that his organisation will move until the Centre says it that it is revoking the three farm laws.
"Not appropriate to react unless we get it in writing. If the Centre says they're revoking the new farm acts, then only we'll lift the blockade completely. We have already lifted the blockade for the passage of the goods trains. Why isn't the chief minister conveying this to the Centre," asked Pandayer.
Captain, however, said the only solution to the imbroglio lay in peaceful and amicable talks between all concerned and urged the farmer unions to respond with a positive approach.
The chief minister also assured the unions that his government would not allow the interests of the farmers to be compromised at any cost as these were linked inexorably to the interests of the state. "The state government would continue to extend whatever support is needed by the farmers to resolve the crisis," said Singh. (ANI)