Farmers’ Bharat bandh call leaves commuters stranded as buses stay off roads in Punjab - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Farmers’ Bharat bandh call leaves commuters stranded as buses stay off roads in Punjab

Feb 16, 2024 04:30 PM IST

Punjab Roadways, Punbus and PRTC Contract Workers Union are supporting the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) bandh call. Farmers held demonstrations across Punjab in support of their demands, including legal guarantee of MSP

Commuters in Punjab faced inconvenience on Friday as buses stayed off the roads in response to the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s Bharat Bandh call to pressurise the central government to accept farmers’ demands, including a legal guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP).

Police patrolling a deserted Hall Bazaar in Amritsar during the Bharat bandh on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Police patrolling a deserted Hall Bazaar in Amritsar during the Bharat bandh on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Punjab Roadways, Punbus and PRTC Contract Workers Union are supporting the Samyukta Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) bandh call. During the day, farmers held demonstrations at many places across Punjab under the banner of the SKM.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

Also read: Bharat bandh today: Why are farmers protesting? What are their demands?

Farmer organisations, including the Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Qadian) and Kirti Kisan Union are taking part in the bandh.

Besides a legal guarantee of MSP, the farmers are demanding the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff, withdrawal of police cases and “justice” for the victims of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, and compensation to the families of the farmers who died during a previous agitation in 2020-21.

A deserted bus stand in Amritsar during the bandh on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
A deserted bus stand in Amritsar during the bandh on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Bus service paralysed in Malwa

Normal life was hit in southwest Punjab districts as all private and the government-run buses remained off the roads since Friday morning in response to the bandh call.

Passengers were seen stranded at various places in the region. Train services remained unaffected.

In view of the nationwide call of strike given by the Left-affiliated trade and farmer unions, the state authorities enhanced police deployment around the spots of road blockade.

Movement of private vehicles on highways in the region was normal till noon.

Convener of the state Malwa zone private bus operators union Baltej Wander said the association has extended a full support and work will remain suspended throughout the day.

Work in the mandis (grain markets) remained suspended as the arthiya (commission agent) associations have backed the bandh call.

Private and government schools remained open due to the ongoing final exams of Classes 10 and 12 of the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) and Punjab School Education Board.

Kuldeep Sharma, president of the Bathinda DC Office Employees Union, said senior leaders will attend the dharna but all others will remain on duty as no strike will be observed.

Closed shops at Hall Bazaar in support of the Bharat Bandh call by farmers in Amritsar on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Closed shops at Hall Bazaar in support of the Bharat Bandh call by farmers in Amritsar on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Markets closed in Doaba

The bandh call evoked a total response in Doaba region on Friday. Farmers blocked national and state highways at several places in the region, while commercial establishments in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar districts remained shut.

Market associations in several places volunteered to shut their establishments on the farmers’ call.

Public and private buses remained off the road and even transport unions parked their vehicles on the roadside in the wake of the farmers protest.

In Jalandhar, farmers staged a protest at five locations, including outside the Jang-e-Azadi memorial near Kartarpur, PAP Chowk, national highway in Phillaur, Nakodar and Bhogpur.

In Kapurthala, the national highway was blocked near Phagwara and Dhilwan toll plazas.

The Jalandhar District Bar Association has announced no work day and extended support to the farmers.

In Hoshiarpur, the farmer unions and their supporters blocked main entry points of the city and sat on dharna. They are, however, allowing emergency vehicles to pass.

Commuters faced the brunt of the bandh as Punjab Roadways and Punbus employees joined the protest.

In Garhshankar, Mukerian and Dasuya sub divisions, farmer held protests. The bandh was partial in Hoshiarpur district, while educational institutions remained open.

Farmers asking shopkeepers to close shops in support of the Bharat Bandh call in Amritsar on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Farmers asking shopkeepers to close shops in support of the Bharat Bandh call in Amritsar on Friday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Markets open in Ludhiana, buses off road

Schools, colleges and markets were open in Ludhiana on Friday, but the bus service was halted on the bandh call.

Farmers blocked main roads at different locations in the city.

According to officials of Punjab Roadways, most routes have been blocked by farmers on protest due to which services have been cancelled.

Ranjit Singh Bagga, the general manager of Punjab Roadways in Ludhiana, said, “We deputed four buses to Raikot, Chandigarh, Ferozepur and Bathinda but the buses returned due to road blockades.”

About 70% students reached examination centres an hour before the scheduled time, following the advisory issued by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On