Farmers have started dispersing from the protest sites in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders of Delhi since Thursday evening. The Samyukt Kisan Morcha expects that by Sunday, the three highways that connect Delhi with Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh will be cleared after nearly 13 months of protests by farmers demanding the repeal of three farm reform laws.
The SKM has arranged special buses and vehicles for farmers. More than one lakh farmers, including a good number of women, were protesting for the last 13 months at Delhi borders. The SKM suspended the protests on Thursday as the Centre accepted most of their demands, including repeal of the three laws.
Farmers are camping on the two sides of National Highway 9 near Tikri Border for about 18 km. On the National Highway 44, farmers are camping for about 13 km near Singhu Border. Hundreds of farmers from Haryana are sitting on a side road connecting National Highway 44 for seven kilometres. On the Ghazipur Border, farmers have occupied about five kilometres of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway.
“Almost all farmers will go back on Saturday. Some coordinators will stay back for a couple of days to ensure that the farmers do not face any difficulties in their journey. Trucks, tractors, trolleys and other vehicles are ready to take the farmers and their belongings back to their villages,” said Coordinator of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) Pavel Kussa.
SKM functionaries told BusinessLine that they have started dismantling the tents and repairing the tractors and trolleys which were lying unused for the last one year to ferry the farmers back to the villages. “We don’t have a count of the tractors and trolleys at the protest sites. Volunteers have started cleaning and repairing those trolleys and we are hopeful of sending everything back to the villages by Sunday,” said Harjit Singh Ravi, a key functionary of the SKM who takes care of logistics at the protest site in Singhu.
Ravi said langars ( foodstalls) will be the last to go. “We will ensure that food is supplied to even the last farmer who is leaving the protest site,” he said. Over 30 large langars and dozens of small langars catered to the protestors.
The farmers will also remove bore wells, temporary toilets and other facilities set up near the protest sites. “All such works will be done in a responsible manner. We have volunteers to do this and leaders will monitor the progress,” Ravi added.
On Friday, they paid homage to the Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife and other officers who passed away in a helicopter crash on Wednesday.
Farmers will hold victory processions at the protest sites on Saturday.
A statement from various mass organisations appealed to the people to join SKM to make the victory celebrations massive on Saturday across the country.
“Let us celebrate with colours, balloons, musical instruments, flags, road shows, distribution of sweets in every village, town and city. All sections of the people — farmers, workers, agricultural workers, women, youth and students, teachers, employees, traders, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, journalists, intellectuals, cultural activists etc. are invited to join the celebrations on Saturday,” the statement added.