'Chakka jam': Farmers block roads in Punjab, Haryana

·3-min read

Chandigarh, Feb 6 (PTI) Farmers on Saturday parked their tractor-trailers in the middle of roads and raised slogans against the Centre during a three-hour-long 'chakka jam' agitation in Punjab and Haryana.

Women took part in the stir in a sizeable number at several places.

The call for the nationwide 'chakka jam' was given by the Samkyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farm unions protesting the Centre's farm laws at the Delhi borders.

The agitation from 12 noon till 3 pm was announced to register protest against the internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, alleged harassment meted out to farmers by the authorities and other issues.

Farmer leaders claimed that their three-hour stir remained peaceful in both states.

“The 'chakka jam' was completely peaceful,” said Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan.

Police had stepped up security and had made all arrangements for traffic diversion, said officials, adding adequate security personnel were deployed in Punjab and Haryana.

Several highways, including the Chandigarh-Zirakpur, Amritsar-Pathankot, Tarn Taran-Kapurthala, Ferozepur-Fazilka, Muktsar-Kotkapura, Bathinda-Chandigarh, Fazilka-Malout, Ludhiana-Jalandhar, Panchkula-Pinjore, Patiala-Kaithal, Jind-Karnal, Karnal-Kaithal, Bhiwani-Hisar, Ambala-Chandigarh, Ambala- Hisar and Mansa-Sirsa were blocked by the protesting farmers.

Protests were also held at Shambhu near Ambala and at many toll plazas in both states. Traffic was also disrupted at the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway. Protesting farmers said ambulances, army vehicles and school buses were allowed during the ''chakka jam''.

Though police authorities diverted traffic at many places, commuters faced traffic snarls.

Kokrikalan said they blocked roads at 33 places in 15 Punjab districts, including Sangrur, Barnala and Bathinda.

“Around 6,000 to 7,000 protesters on an average took part in 'Chakka jam' at each place,” claimed Kokrikalan while commenting on the protest by the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan).

Farmers carried placards with slogans 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' and 'Kisan Ekta Zindabad'. They also raised slogans against the Centre for not acceding to their demand of repealing the farm legislations.

In the morning, farmers started assembling at their earmarked protest sites in both states.

They parked tractor-trailers and other vehicles on roads. Women took part in the agitation in sizeable number at several places, including in Punjab's Sangrur and Ludhiana.

'The government should repeal the three laws as they are not in the interest of the farming community,' said a protester at the Shambhu border.

Punjabi actors Binnu Dhillon, Dev Kharoud and singer Pammi Bai took part in a protest in Patiala.

In Phagwara, Bharti Kisan Union (Doaba) leader Kirpal Singh Moosapur said protesters squatted near a sugar mill and raised slogans against the BJP-led Centre.

Protesters also honked horns for one minute, said Moosapur. Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November at the Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK