India

‘Chakka jam’ | Farmers in Punjab, Haryana block roads


Several national and State highways were blocked as the ‘chakka jam’ started at noon, hampering traffic

Members of different farmer outfits in parts of Punjab and Haryana on Saturday blocked roads and squatted on roads as part of a ‘chakka jam’ against the Union government’s three agriculture laws.

Also read: Farmers’ road blockade | Security increased at Delhi borders

Several national and State highways were blocked as the ‘chakka jam’ started at noon, hampering traffic. The protests have been peaceful and no untoward incident has been reported so far. Slogans were shouted against the Centre, demanding the repeal of the farm laws.

The protests were held on a call from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint front of farmer unions that had been agitating against the farm laws.

The SKM has announced that only national and State highways across the country will be jammed from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The programme will conclude with all farmers blowing the horns of their vehicles continuously for one minute at 3 p.m. to indicate the unity of farmers, according to the SKM.

Also read: Farm unions’ ‘chakka jam’: UN urges ‘maximum restraint’

PTI adds:

Farmers’ unions had on February 1 announced a countrywide ‘chakka jam’ from 12 noon to 3 p.m. on February 6 when they would block national and State highways in protest against the Internet ban in areas near their agitation sites, harassment allegedly meted out to them by authorities, and other issues.

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

Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said they are holding road blockades at 33 places in 15 districts including Sangrur, Barnala and Bathinda in Punjab.

Also read: Farmers’ road blockade | Peaceful ‘satyagraha’ of farmers in national interest: Rahul Gandhi

In the morning, farmers started assembling at their earmarked protest sites for ‘chakka jam’ in both the States.

“Elders and youth have gathered here to participate in chakka jam. It will be peaceful,” said a protester at the Punjab-Haryana border in Shambhu near Ambala.

“We want that the government should repeal these three laws as they are not in the interest of the farming community,” said another protester.

Protesting farmers said emergency vehicles including ambulances and school buses will be allowed during the ‘chakka jam’.

Also read: Ground Zero | Farmers, the state, and a rising tide

Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the 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.

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