Bandh in Bharat brings Punjab, Haryana to halt
Chandigarh The Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) from 6am to 4pm to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three central agri-marketing laws by the central government evoked good response in Punjab and Haryana, while it was partial in Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
Chandigarh The Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) from 6am to 4pm to mark the first anniversary of the enactment of the three central agri-marketing laws by the central government evoked good response in Punjab and Haryana, while it was partial in Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The 10-hour nationwide shutdown threw normal life out of gear in Punjab and Haryana, the epicentre of the farmers’ agitation since it was launched about a year ago. People commuting by road and train were at the receiving end as protesters blocked highways and squatted on railway tracks at many places in the two states. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere. Shops and other commercial establishments were closed in most towns in the two states as traders, as social organisations, employee bodies extended their support to the farmers.
Protesters laid siege to nearly 500 locations across Punjab, blocking inter-state highways and key rail routes. Schools, colleges and universities and government offices reported thin attendance. Long traffic jams were reported from different districts, while ambulances were allowed to ply.
“It is a near total bandh in Punjab. We are thankful to all those who supported us,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal, the president of the Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal), a constituent of the SKM.
Over 50 trains affected
Fourteen trains were cancelled in the Ferozepur rail division, while eight were rescheduled and two short terminated. Under the neighbouring Ambala division, 19 trains were cancelled and 15 rescheduled. Officials said the Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab, New Delhi-Moga Express, Old Delhi-Pathankot Express, Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Katra, and Amritsar Shatabdi are some of the trains that have been affected.
“More than 20 locations in Delhi, Ambala, and Ferozepur divisions had been blocked. About 50 trains were affected due to this. All train movement is normal now since 4:30 pm,” a spokesperson for the Northern Railway said.
In Haryana, farmers blocked the Delhi-Ambala-Chandigarh highway, Chandigarh-Kaithal-Jind-Hisar highway, Panipat-Rohtak highway, Kurukshetra-Kaithal highway, Kurukshetra-Yamunangar highway, Karnal-Jind highway and Karnal-Yamunanagar highway. The protesters sat on rail tracks in Jhajjar, Bahadurgarh, Fatehgarh in Dadri and at Ramayana toll plaza in Hisar. Commuters used village link roads to reach their destinations.
Traders in most parts of the state kept their business establishments closed in solidarity. Security was beefed up at Singhu and Tikri borders where farmers have been camping for almost a year. Entry and exit gates of metro stations from Tikri to Bahadurgarh were closed, inconveniencing commuters headed for Delhi.
SKM leader Inderjit Singh said, “Shopkeepers and small factory owners also shut their establishments in support of farmers till 4pm. Medical staff and ambulances were allowed passage.”