Delhi braces for fresh traffic chaos as protesting farmers plan to resume march | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Delhi braces for fresh traffic chaos as protesting farmers plan to resume march

Feb 21, 2024 10:23 AM IST

The Delhi Police have bolstered security at the city’s main border crossing points with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh at Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur

The Capital braced for fresh traffic chaos as protesting farmers planned to resume their march to Delhi on Wednesday amid a standoff with security personnel in Haryana.

Farmers on tractors at Shambhu in Punjab’s Patiala district. (AFP)
Farmers on tractors at Shambhu in Punjab’s Patiala district. (AFP)

The plan prompted the Delhi Police to bolster security at the city’s main border crossing points with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh at Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur as well as from smaller ones from where farmers could attempt to enter the Capital.

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Protruding iron nails, iron barricades, barbed wires, and dumpers filled with sand, cranes, earthmovers, and shipping containers have been put up at Singhu, where 2,000 security personnel have also been deployed.

Over 1,000 personnel were to be deployed at Ghazipur. Two layers of jersey barriers have been set up there. The gaps between the barriers have been filled with cement. Heavy vehicles were on standby to create a third layer of barricades if needed. The main carriageway will be open and if any changes have to be made, the decision will be taken in real time. Nearly 5,000 police personnel were expected to be in charge of security at Tikri.

Traffic was smooth at the Ghazipur border on Tuesday. Only one lane was blocked. Vehicular traffic has been completely shut at Singhu and Tikri since February 13 even as commuters are allowed to shuttle between Delhi and Haryana from diverted routes. Vehicles are diverted to arterial roads at the two borders.

The Gurugram Police on Tuesday detained 70 farmers and stopped a procession of around 400 in Manesar.

Farmer leader Jagjeet Singh Dallewal on Tuesday said they were still open to talks even as tensions ran high at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana.

The protesters brought excavators and JCB machines after failing to cross the Shambhu border due to heavy police deployment last week. The driver cabins of the excavators and JCB machine have been modified to withstand the impact of rubber bullets and shotgun pellets.

Many farmers have prepared rudimentary anti-riot shields, and organised gas masks to blunt the impact of tear gas shells. The protesters have also readied thousands of sandbags that could be used to build makeshift motorable pathways through non-barricaded areas.

The police ramped up arrangements by deploying shipping containers loaded with heavy materials to prevent them from being moved.

Farmers have been staging a sit-in protest at Shambhu since February 13 to press for their demands including minimum support prices for 23 crops.

The farmers halted their march last week amid talks with the Union government. But the deadlock continued after the fourth round of the talks on Sunday night.

Farmer leader Ramandeep Singh Mann on Tuesday said they were preparing merely to protect themselves from the bullets and tear gas shells. He insisted they would remain no-violent and were fully prepared to march towards Delhi.

Another farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher appealed to the Union government to resolve their issues by holding talks or allowing them to march to Delhi by removing the barricades.

Farmer leaders at Shambhu planned to take two routes to reach Delhi. The first was via Shambhu, Ambala, Karnal, Panipat, and Sonepat, and the second was through Khanouri (on the Punjab-Haryana border), Jind and Rohtak.

Support for protesting farmers was discussed at a gathering in Muzaffarnagar’s Sisauli on February 17. Tractor marches were planned at district headquarters across the state especially those close to Delhi.

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