Will resume Punjab train services at earliest: Railways

Will resume Punjab train services at earliest: Railways

Sources indicated that the goods and passenger train operations would begin from Tuesday

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh during a meeting with representatives of various farmers' organisations, in Chandigarh. Credit: PTI.

The Railways said on Saturday it would soon resume goods and passenger train services in Punjab following the state government's communication that the tracks were clear for operations and hours after the protesting farmers decided to allow the services to operate.

Goods trains have not entered Punjab for nearly two months, except for two days in October, due to the rail blockade by farmers over the contentious farm laws, leading to a shortage of essential goods, including fertilisers needed for sowing wheat and coal supplies for thermal plants.

Sources indicated that the goods and passenger train operations would begin from Tuesday.

"Railways has received communication from Government of Punjab for the resumption of both goods and passenger train services. It has been informed that tracks are now clear for train operations," the ministry tweeted.

"Railways will take steps towards restoration of train services in Punjab at the earliest after undertaking necessary maintenance checks and completing other laid down protocols," it added.

Earlier, the farmer bodies protesting against the Centre's farm laws decided to lift their blockade of trains for 15 days from Monday, in a move to bring relief to the state facing an acute shortage of essential supplies. However, they said the tracks would again be blocked if the government failed to resolve their issues.

The train services have remained suspended in the state since September 24, when farmers launched their rail blockade against the Centre's recently-enacted agriculture-related laws.

The deadlock between the protesting farmers and the Railways continued after the national transporter rejected a proposal by the protesters that only freight trains would be allowed to run in the state.

The Railways' freight loading suffered losses due to cancellations of trains and many others -- carrying essentials for Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir -- getting stranded on the outskirts of Punjab.

The Railways has said it suffered a loss of Rs 2,220 crore, including Rs 67 crore in passenger revenue, due to the blockade.

The protests have affected 3,850 freight trains that could not be loaded. As many as 2,352 passenger trains have been cancelled or diverted so far. The Northern Railway, which caters to the region, incurred a revenue loss of Rs 891 crore, with an average daily loss of Rs 14.85 crore.