Dubbing as totally irrational and illogical the Railways’ decision to link movement of goods train in Punjab with passenger trains, the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said by defending the decision, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was further fuelling the fire of anger among the Punjab farmers.
Rejecting outright the BJP state unit president Ashwani Sharma’s allegation of `arm-twisting’ the Centre, the Chief Minister said it was the BJP leadership that was inciting the farmers with its anti-Punjab stance on the issue.
Instead of questioning the Railways and supporting the state government in persuading the Centre to allow freight trains to ply, the BJP leadership continued to indulge in dirty politics at the cost of the welfare of the people of Punjab and neighbouring states, he said.
“What’s worse is that the BJP is not even concerned about our soldiers in Ladakh and Kashmir who are waiting desperately for critical supplies before the onset of snow, which would block them off completely from the rest of the country for the winter months,” he added.
On Sharma’s accusation that the state government had failed to dissuade protestors from blocking train services, the Chief Minister said the fact was that it was his government which had convinced the Punjab farmers to ease their blockade to let essential supplies come in.
Even now, several of his cabinet colleagues were engaged with Kisan Unions to push for complete lifting of the blockade to allow even passenger movement, he said, adding it was in his government’s interest to do so since it was responsible for the people of the state.
However, Captain Amarinder Singh said that there was absolutely no logic in linking the movement of goods train in Punjab and passenger trains, which the Railways was doing as a patent excuse to continue with the suspension of freight services.
Passengers wanting to come to Punjab could easily travel by train to stations in nearby states, such as Ambala in Haryana and Chandigarh, from where they could go by roads to their destinations in Punjab in a matter of a few hours, he pointed out.