Farmers lay siege to toll plazas in Haryana, allow free movement of vehicles
Farmers overpowered staff at several toll plazas in Haryana allowing toll- free movement of all vehicles from Friday midnight. Following a call by farmer union leaders, the toll plazas on Delhi-Chandigarh national highway 44 at Bastara in Karnal and at Panipat were put under siege along with Kaithal toll plaza on Hisar-Chandigarh national highway (NH 152), Milk-Majra toll plaza on Panchkula-Saharanpur highway in Yamunanagar and Gullarpur toll plaza on Assandh-Karnal highway.
The farmers have also held protests at the toll plazas and accused the government of forcing the farmers to take such steps. While the district administrations issued prohibitory orders and imposed section 144 CrPC, but the police did not take any action to stop the farmers.
The call to make all toll plazas free for a day was given by the farmer unions to intensify their agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws after several rounds of talks with the government remained inconclusive.
“Exactly at midnight, protesters reached the toll plazas and asked officials to allow the movement of all vehicles without charging any toll. They removed the barricades,” said an official at the Karnal toll plaza, requesting anonymity. The toll officials were not ready to speak over the development on record.
The protesters said that they will stay at the toll plaza for the next 24 hours to ensure the free movement of all vehicles.
“We have made toll plazas free for all commuters from midnight and will leave after 24 hours,” said their leader, Sewa Singh Arya.
Police deployed at the toll plaza could not stop the protesters. Karnal SP Ganga Ram Punia said police have been deployed at the toll plazas to ensure people do not disturb the law and order.
“We will ensure that nobody violates the prohibitory orders in place and the deployment is being increased,” Punia said.
On Saturday morning, when the farmers left briefly, the toll officials started charging toll, but the farmers returned after half an hour and again forced toll officials to allow vehicles to pass without paying.
On Thursday, the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) president, Gurnam Singh Charuni, said that during meetings with the Union government they have made it clear that their agitation will continue till the three laws are revoked.
“We have now decided that all farmers will port their (Jio) mobile phone numbers to other service providers and on December 12 all toll plazas will be made free for all for one day. On December 14, the agitation will be intensified by holding protests at all district headquarters,” he said.