Massive traffic jams were reported on roads connecting Delhi and Noida as farmers from Uttar Pradesh tried to enter the national capital to protest over their several demands.
While protests were witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, farmers from Punjab are preparing for ‘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’s recommendations.
Meanwhile, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Nityanand Rai and Arjun Munda reached Chandigarh to meet farmers. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann also met farmer leaders in Chandigarh Sector 26.
Why Are Uttar Pradesh Farmers Protesting?
Thousands of farmers from around 100 villages, including women and elderly, joined the march, to press for their demands for hiked compensation and developed plots in lieu of their land acquired by local development authorities in Noida and Greater Noida in the past.
The protest march also slowed down movement of vehicular traffic at various routes, including the key stretches of Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and DND Flyway that thousands of commuters use daily.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait joined the 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 held camps outside the local authority office since December 2023.
The farmers from around 100 villages were led by the BKP after they assembled at the Mahamaya Flyover in Noida around 12 pm on Thursday, with a proposed plan to march towards the Parliament.
“From Mahamaya Flyover, the farmers shall march towards the Parliament in Delhi to press for our long-pending demands,” BKP leader Sukhbir Yadav ‘Khalifa’ said earlier in the day.
“Farmer organisations proposed to go to Delhi with their various demands. Peaceful talks are being held with them near the Delhi border. Senior police officers are present on the spot,” the police spokesperson said around 5 pm.
“Meaningful conversations with farmers are taking place in a peaceful environment,” the official added. Ahead of the protest by the farmers in Noida and Greater Noida, the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police had already imposed CrPC Section 144 for Wednesday and Thursday.
Between 12 pm and 5 pm, heavy traffic jams were witnessed on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, DND loop, Kanlindi Kunj bridge, around Dalit Prerna Sthal, Atta Chowk and Rajnigandha Chowk in Noida.
Similar snarls were witnessed at Pari Chowk in Greater Noida, with the police saying that they were making efforts to ensure smooth traffic movement.
Why Are Punjab Farmers Protesting?
Farmers organisations are gearing up to take part in ‘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’s recommendations.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha had announced that farmers would march to Delhi on February 13 to press the Centre for accepting its demands. More than 200 farmers’ unions from across the country would participate in the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march.
Besides a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP), the farmers are also demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases and “justice” for 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 a year-long protest on Delhi’s border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — against the three now-repealed farm laws.
Ambala Police have already stocked up concrete blocks, barbed wire, sandbags, barricades and other items at the Shambhu border in Ambala to stop protesters from marching towards Delhi. Farmers have planned to head to Delhi from the Ambala-Shambhu border, Khanauri-Jind and the Dabwali border.
(With PTI inputs)