February 7, 2021 7:53:58 am
Commuters on the main highways surrounding the Tricity were faced with severe inconveniences on Saturday, during the three-hour-long chakka jam called by the protesting farmers who have been demanding the repeal of the three farm laws for months.
Although protesters allowed emergency vehicles, including ambulances, defense personnel vehicles and government vehicles, to pass through the roads, people in emergency situations, commuting in private vehicles, had to plead and convince the protesters to pass the blockades. At several protest sites, scenes of altercations between protesters and commuters were also witnessed.
At Chandimandir toll plaza, one of the protest sites in Panchkula, several arguments were also witnessed between motorists and protesters.
The protesters urged the commuters coming to the toll plaza to join the protests. A couple riding a motorcycle, on their way to a relative’s place in Panchkula- where one of their family members had passed away, had argued with the protesters and convince them to be allowed to pass the toll plaza.
A pregnant woman commuting in a car along with her relatives was allowed to pass as one of her relatives had informed the protesters about the situation in advance. Meanwhile, two motorcyclists, who pleaded with the protesters that they had got only a day off to meet their ailing father at Kalka, were not allowed to cross the blocked toll plaza.
Protesters blocked the main roads, stalling commuters in vehicles, including trucks and SUVs, by hoarding boards and barricades around the toll plazas. The protesters slowly started gathering on the highways and main roads from 9 am and stopped the traffic precisely at 12 pm.
They allowed the commuters to pass through the toll and other roads only minutes before 3 pm.
The Chandimandir toll plaza at Kalka-Shimla Express Highway and Naggal toll plaza at Panchkula-Yamunanagar Highway also witnessed long traffic jams. The congestion also affected the traffic flow on the inner roads of Panchkula and Chandigarh. In Panchkula, heavy police force was deployed across the national highways for tackling law and order situations.
Sudershan Singh, a farm leader from Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) said, “Our intention is not to trouble anyone. We just want to send a message to the government about our concerns. Until our voice is heard, the protests will continue.”
Meanwhile, the Panchkula police blocked the entry to Kalka-Shimla highway from the side of Majri light point near Sector 1. On the road stretch from Chandimandir toll plaza to Old Panchkula light point, a 2 km long traffic jam was witnessed.
A Panchkula police officer said, “Protesters blocked the main roads exactly at 12 pm. They opened the roads at 3 pm. No untoward incident was reported.”
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