Farmers block Western Peripheral Expressway as agitation enters 100th day
Farmers protesting the three new central farm laws on Saturday blocked the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Western Peripheral Expressway in Haryana to mark 100 days of their ongoing agitation. The farmers' unions said the five-hour blockade will start at 11:00am and continue until 4:00pm. Security arrangements in Palwal were strengthened in view of the blockade and the Gurugram Police was put on high alert. Here's more.
Hundreds of farmers riding tractor trolleys from the Singhu border reportedly reached the Western Peripheral Expressway and were awaiting instructions to implement the blockade of the 135km-long Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway as planned, said reports. Earlier on Friday, farmers' organization Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) requested the protesters to wear black bands. It also said that the blockade would be peaceful and commuters wouldn't be troubled.
"March 6 will mark the 100th day of the farmers' protest on the borders of Delhi. On that day, there will be a 5-hour blockade on the KMP Expressway connecting various protest sites," farm leader Balvir Singh Rajewal said earlier. "The blockade will be between 11 am and 4 pm...no toll will be collected at the toll plazas during this time," he added.
"In the rest of the country, the day will be marked by hoisting black flags on houses and offices to support the movement. The SKM members will be wearing black bands on that day as a mark of protest," Rajewal further said.
While protesting farmers from the Singhu border will reportedly arrive at Kundli and block the toll plazas on their way, those from Triki and Ghazipur borders will be blocking the Bahadurgarh and Dasna toll plazas, respectively. Meanwhile, farmers from the Shahjahanpur border will block the Gurugram-Manesar side of the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway. These toll plazas will be freed up from collecting the toll fees.
"These toll plazas will be blocked in a peaceful manner and passers-by will not be disturbed. We will keep water for the passers-by. They will also be apprised of our issues with the farm laws," Rajvir Singh Jadaun, Uttar Pradesh President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union told IANS. He further said emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire engines, and military vehicles will not be stopped.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, among other states, have been protesting at different borders of Delhi since November 26 last year. They have been demanding the repeal of the three contentious farm laws passed by the Parliament back in September.
The three farm laws that the farmers are opposing include 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. Their demands include repealing these laws and ensuring that minimum support price (MSP) for their crops is legally guaranteed, among others.