Massive traffic jams were reported on roads connecting Delhi and Noida as farmers from Uttar Pradesh tried to enter the national capital to protest their various demands.
As protests were witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, farmers in Punjab are gearing up for the ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation on February 13 to press for demands, including a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) and implementation of recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
Meanwhile, Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Nityanand Rai and Arjun Munda met farmers in Chandigarh. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann was also present in that meeting.
Why are Uttar Pradesh farmers protesting?
Thousands of farmers from around 100 villages, including women and elders, joined the march to press their demands for greater compensation and developed plots in place of their land acquired by local development authorities in Noida and Greater Noida in the past. .
The protest march also slowed down the movement of vehicular traffic on several routes, including the key stretches of Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and DND Flyway that thousands of commuters use daily.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait joined protesters in Greater Noida in the afternoon, where his Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members have been protesting outside the local authority office. In Noida, the protesters were led by the Bharatiya Kisan Parishad (BKP), whose activists have camped outside the local authority office since December 2023.
Farmers from around 100 villages were led by the BKP after they gathered at the Mahamaya flyover in Noida around 12 noon on Thursday, with a proposed plan to march towards Parliament.
“From the Mahamaya flyover, farmers will march towards Parliament in Delhi to press for our long-pending demands,” BKP leader Sukhbir Yadav ‘Khalifa’ said earlier in the day.
“Farmer organizations proposed to go to Delhi with their various demands. Peaceful talks are being held with them near the Delhi border. Senior police officers are at the scene,” the police spokesperson reported around 5:00 p.m.
“Meaningful talks are taking place with farmers in a peaceful environment,” the official added. Before the farmers’ protest in Noida and Greater Noida, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police had already imposed section 144 of the CrPC for Wednesday and Thursday.
Between 12 noon and 5 am, heavy traffic jams were witnessed on Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, DND Circuit, Kanlindi Kunj Bridge, around Dalit Prerna Sthal, Atta Chowk and Rajnigandha Chowk in Noida.
Similar snarls were witnessed at Pari Chowk in Greater Noida, and police said they were making efforts to ensure smooth movement of traffic.
Why are Punjab farmers protesting?
Farmer organizations are preparing to participate in the ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation on February 13 to press for demands, including a legal guarantee for the minimum support price (MSP) and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Apolitical) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha had announced that the farmers would march to Delhi on February 13 to pressure the Center to accept their demands. More than 200 farmer unions from across the country would participate in the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march.
Apart from a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), farmers are also demanding implementation of Swaminathan Commission recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm workers, waiver of farm debt, withdrawal of police cases and “justice” for the victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. .
In 2020, a large number of farmers from Punjab and nearby areas of Ambala gathered at the Shambhu border and broke police barriers to march towards Delhi. Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, held protests at Delhi border points (Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur) for a year against the three now-repealed farm laws.
The Ambala police have already stocked concrete blocks, barbed wire, sandbags, barricades and other items at the Shambhu border in Ambala to stop the protesters from advancing towards Delhi. The farmers have planned to head towards Delhi from Ambala-Shambhu border, Khanauri-Jind border and Dabwali border.
Union ministers meet Punjab farmers
After a meeting with Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Nityanand Rai, Arjun Munda and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, the farmer leaders said they will continue the agitation scheduled for February 13. However, they said the government has assured them that there will be another meeting soon. .
Farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said: “Today we had a meeting with the government. The meeting was held in a positive atmosphere and the Punjab government took the initiative. We presented all our demands in detail, with facts… The government listened to us and said that it will examine all our facts seriously…”
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“Our program for February 13 will continue as is. The government has assured us that there will be another meeting soon. If the Government calls a meeting before the 13th and resolves our issues, that is fine. Otherwise, our program for the 13th will continue as is…” he stated.
(With PTI inputs)
first published: February 8, 2024, 20:45 IST