National

Bharat Bandh: Some impact in North, but daily life unaffected in South

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on September 27, 2021

There was a huge pile-up of vechicles on the Delhi-Gurugram Expressway at the Gurugram-Delhi border as the Delhi police barricaded sections of the route, in the view of Bharat Bandh on Monday   -  PTI

Small incidents of road blocks seen in parts of the country

Barring North India including Delhi/NCR and Haryana, the Bharat Bandh called by the farmer unions against the Centre’s three agri laws did not have much impact on daily commuters and public at large across the country.

In the Delhi-NCR, long queues of vehicles were seen at the borders till late evening, especially at Gurugram and Noida as police barricaded the roads to prevent untoward incident during the protests by farmers. However, there were smooth traffic flow after that.

Rail traffic hit

According to Railway officials, movement of about 25 trains including Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab, New Delhi-Moga Express, Old Delhi-Payhajot Express, Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi to Katra, and Amritsar Shatabdi was affected.

Farmers squatted on railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana including at Shahbad near Kurukshetra, Sonipat, Bahadurgarh, Charkhi Dadri, Jind, Hisar, Amritsar, Patiala, Barnala and Lalru near Derabassi. As a result, several trains were held up and delayed.

National and State highways in several districts of Punjab like Amritsar, Rupnagar, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Sangrur, Mohali, Ludhiana and Ferozepur were blocked by the protesters.

In Haryana, the protesters blocked highways including Sirsa, Fatehabad, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Hisar, Charkhi Dadri, Karnal, Kaithal and Rohtak.

“Goods from Jaipur and Meerut were stuck due to blockades by the farmers and took time to reach Delhi through alternative routes,” Pravin Khandelwal, Secretary General, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said.

People coming from Delhi to Jaipur also faced problems as farmers blocked Delhi-Jaipur national highway near Behror in Alwar district.

Calm in the South

In the Southern India, there were isolated protests across Tamil Nadu but there was no impact on daily life. However, in Chennai, protesters broke police barricades in the Anna Salai area — heart of the city, and were detained by the police.

Stray incidents of violence were also reported from Kerala as public transport, especially of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, was hit following the bandh.

The Kerala High Court had dismissed a PIL that wanted the hartal to be delcared illegal after the State government said it will ensure that no untoward incidents occurs due to the strike.

Both the ruling Left Democratic Government (LDF) and the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) had supported the bandh. In West Bengal, life remained largely unaffected though some Left activists blocked roads and railway tracks across the State. Markets and shops were kept open as usual and transport operated almost normally.

While some CPI(M) members blocked roads in certain parts of Kolkata, they were swiftly removed by the police. Some Congress activists also joined the protesters in several locations demanding repeal of the three farm laws. However, the ruling Trinamool Congress stayed away from the bandh.

In Gujarat also, barring a few incidents of road blockade and indicative protests, there was negligible impact of the bandh. A section of farmers and workers of the Opposition attempted to block the road and stage protests with banners in the districts of Bharuch, Vadodara, Surat, Ahmedabad and parts of Saurashtra but were detained immediately by the local police.

The normal business activities and transport remained unaffected across the State. The three laws — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 — were passed by Parliament in September last year.

The government and farmer unions have held 11 rounds of talks so far, the last being on January 22, to break the deadlock and end the farmers’ protest.

With inputs from TE Raja Simhan in Chennai, Shobha Roy in Kolkata, Rutam Vora in Ahmedabad and Vinson Kurien

in Thiruvananthapuram

Published on September 27, 2021

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