Train services in Punjab, which were suspended for almost two months due to the agitation against the three farm bills, have normalised except for a 32-km stretch, Chairman Railway Board VK Yadav said Tuesday. Train operations in Punjab were severely affected for almost two months after farmers protesting against the three new farm laws sat on railway tracks and on station premises, refusing to let trains ply.
"We have had no issues in running trains in Punjab since November 23 except between Beas and Amritsar where some protestors are still there. But an alternative route is available and the trains to Amritsar are being diverted through that. However, we had to cancel some trains on that route as the earlier route was double line while the diverted route is single line," Yadav said at a press conference.
He also said between November 23 and November 30, 94 passenger trains have entered Punjab while 78 have exited the state. While 384 loaded and 273 empty freight trains entered the state, 373 loaded and 221 empty freight trains exited the state.
Pushing the state into full gear as far as commodities are concerned, during this period out of the 384 loaded freight trains that entered the state 155 carried coal, 58 trains carried fertilizers, 25 carried steel, 32 carried petroleum, oil and lubricants among others, he said. Of the 373 loaded trains that exited Punjab, 245 trains carried foodgrains to other parts of the country.
The Railways had earlier said the suspension of services have led to losses to the tune of Rs 2,220 crore. The government on Tuesday expressed confidence that it will reach a solution after discussing the issues raised by the protesting farmers, as a meeting got underway between union ministers and representatives of over 30 farmers' organisations.
For the meeting at Vigyan Bhawan here, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was accompanied by Railways and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, also an MP from Punjab.