The Northern Railway on Friday said that as many as 41 trains were cancelled and eleven were short-terminated in view of farmers’ agitation in Punjab.
Earlier in the day, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and railways, food and consumer matters minister Piyush Goyal held talks with a delegation of representatives of farmers from Punjab, who are protesting a set of laws passed recently to liberalise the farm sector, at the national capital’s Vigyan Bhawan.
This is the second one attempt by the government to negotiate with the farmers and break an deadlock following a cultivators’ agitation in some states, especially Punjab, against the Centre’s move to open up agricultural markets in the nation.
Agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal had met a farmers’ delegation earlier on October 14, after inviting them for talks, to convince them to end their protest, but the assembly had ended in a impasse.
The farmers in Punjab have launched protests, blockading rail tracks and Road transport, since the government enacted three farm-sector laws in September.
The three laws, together, allow agribusinesses to freely business farm produce by easing restrictions, permit private traders to stockpile fundamental commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.
The protesting farmers say the reforms could cause them to vulnerable to exploitation, erode their bargaining power and weaken the government’s minimum strengthen price (MSP) system, which offers cultivators assured prices from the government, in large part for wheat and rice.
The farmer organisations are likely to press for the MSP system to be written into law, which is high on their agenda.