Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced that he will lead a relay 'dharna' of Congress MLAs at the Rajghat on Wednesday morning to highlight the state's "power crisis and critical essential supplies" situation amid the Centre's alleged adamant refusal to allow movement of goods trains due to farmers' agitation.
The Chief Minister said that Punjab had run out of coal, urea and DAP and other essential supplies due to Railways decision not to ply goods trains even after the farmers eased their blockade to allow such movement.
As the crisis resulted in complete shutdown of all power plants as well as curtailment of agricultural and vegetables supplies, the Chief Minister said, he had decided to hold a "symbolic relay dharna" at the memorial to the Father of the Nation to bring the state's grim situation to the Centre's notice.
The Chief Minister had earlier failed to get an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind on the agriculture-related amendment Bills. Since Section 144 of the CrPC is enforced in Delhi, party MLAs will go from Punjab Bhawan in Delhi to the Rajghat in batches of four, he said, adding that he will lead the first batch at 10.30 am.
Amarinder Singh reiterated his appeal to MLAs of other Punjab parties to join in the 'dharna' in the state's interest, which was facing a grim situation as the last of the private power plants will also shut down on Tuesday.
GVK announced it will close down operations at 3 pm since it had run out of coal stocks. Other public and other private power plants in the state have shut down earlier.
With its bid for power purchase not cleared for Tuesday, the state was facing extreme power shortage, all agricultural and vegetable supplies had been curtailed, and high loss feeders power supply had been cut, Amarinder Singh said, adding that the people of Punjab were staring at a "dark festival season".
Further, the continued and inexplicable suspension of goods trains was having serious consequences for other states such as Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, he pointed out, reiterating his warning that armed forces will become sitting ducks for enemies if they did not get essential supplies before snow sets in.
Soon after the Vidhan Sabha session, in which all parties had unanimously resolved to seek time from the President for a meeting on November 4 (or any other suitable date) to seek his intervention on the farm laws issue, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) had, on October 21, sent a letter to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to request a meeting.
A reminder was subsequently sent on October 29, in response to which the CMO received a demi official letter on Monday, rejecting the request for the meeting on the ground that the state's amendment Bills were still pending with the Governor for consideration.
Subsequently, the CMO sent another letter yesterday itself, stating that the Chief Minister and other MLAs needed time to bring to the President's notice the situation on the ground and to seek his intervention for resolution of the issues that have cropped up. However, the President's Office responded that "the request cannot be accepted at this juncture for reasons cited earlier".