Roads dug up, supplies hit: How life at Delhi’s borders is hit by farm protest | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Roads dug up, supplies hit: How life at Delhi’s borders is hit by farm protest

Feb 15, 2024 05:52 AM IST

The pits at the three villages — Narela and Bawana in Delhi, and at Kundli in Haryana — are around six feet deep, officers aware of the matter said

The Delhi Police on Wednesday dug up dirt tracks at three villages along Singhu border to stop protesting farmers from entering the Capital by bypassing barricades set up at NH-44.

Security forces at the Singhu border in the city on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Security forces at the Singhu border in the city on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

The development came a day after the police sealed the border at NH-44 for vehicular traffic, and set up multiple layers of blockades with concrete and iron barricades, barbed wires, and heavy vehicles.

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The villages where the pits were dug — at Narela and Bawana in Delhi, and at Kundli in Haryana — are around six feet deep, officers aware of the matter said. The protesting farmers are still around 200km away at Shambhu — the border between Punjab and Haryana — but the Delhi Police are not taking any chances, not wanting a repeat of the farmers’ agitation at the Capital’s borders from November 2020 to December 2021, they said.

“The pits are about six feet deep and enough for a tractor to get stuck. The primary motive is to ensure that tractors cannot enter Delhi if they try to enter Delhi through the villages,” a senior officer said, on condition of anonymity, adding that they got in touch with their Haryana counterparts to dig up the dirt tracks in Kundli.

The move, however, has left residents of the three villages worried — the blockades have already hit the supply of essential commodities to the area.

Bharti Singh, 28, a resident of Narela, said vegetables are running out in the village, and whatever supplies still exist are being sold at a much higher rate. “How will we afford meals?” she said.

Residents also complained that their water supply has been hit — these villages depend on government-supplied water tankers every day. “The water container didn’t come today, and we didn’t have a drop at home,” said Anjita Devi, a resident of Kundli.

The residents also noted that the surrounding area has several factories, and fire is a very real risk that they face. “How will fire tenders reach if the road is completely dug up?” said Deepak Kumar, a resident of Kundli.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday conducted intensive drills at Tikri — the other border with Haryana that has been sealed — leading to massive traffic snarls in surrounding areas. As part of the drills, police also shut access to roads around the border, leading to confusion among local residents.

Special commissioners of police (law and order) Ravindra Yadav and Madhup Tiwari also visited the border to check the arrangements.

Suraj Kumar, a Class 12 student who has a board exam on Thursday, said he is worried about reaching his exam centre in Mehrauli on time. “I will have to take the Metro, but I also have to reach the exam centre by 8am. We don’t know what to do,” he said.

A senior officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “We are merely following orders to secure the border and safeguard the city... A few issues will be there but no area is inaccessible except the border.”

Pradeep Kaul, who operates a factory in nearby Nangloi, said, “My workers are complaining that they have to walk 5-6 km to reach the factory. They are stopped and questioned. My supplier has refused to send me material. How will I work? How will I pay my workers?”

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