Supporting the farmer agitation against three Central farm laws, thousands of people on tractor-trollies and motorbikes under the banner of Bhartiya Kisan Union Ekta stormed Chandimandir Toll Plaza on Saturday, forcing the authorities to make it toll-free for commuters. The fee collection was suspended for at least seven hours.
The collection counters were closed from 11.45 am to 6.45 pm.
While adequate police force was deployed for preventing any violence, police officers allowed the protesters to make the toll plaza toll-free without opposing them.
A National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officer said, “We suffered a loss of Rs five lakh at Chandimandir toll plaza. Around Rs three lakh loss was suffered at Barwala-Yamunanagar toll plaza. The fee collection was resumed at these two toll plazas by 6.45 pm. The protesters were the local farmers and their relatives. No violence was reported.”
The protesters gathered from all over the Doon area of the Kalka-Panchkula constituency. Doon area comprises Kalka, Pinjore, Nalagarh road and Morni areas of the Panchkula district.
They gathered under the leadership of local farmer leaders Karam Singh and Kulwinder Singh of BKU.
The commuters faced inconvenience when the protesters blocked all the fasttag lanes with barricades allowing the traffic for toll-free passage through the only cash lane. Staff members sitting at fee counters closed the counter windows and came outside their cabins.
The protesters sitting on tractors raised anti-Central and state government slogans. They made loud demands to take back the three argiculture laws which were introduced at the height of the pandemic.
Kulwinder Singh, a farmer leader, said, “Over 1,500 protesters from Kalka-Pinjore-Morni region gathered at the toll plaza. This is an agitation of farmers, for the farmers. We have not allowed any political figure to address the gathering. We are committed for the farmers’ cause. On December 14, various trucks loaded with farmers will move towards Delhi.”
The youths were present in the protest in a large number. They used tractor-trollies, motorcycles, mini- buses, jeeps and cars.
People also gathered at Barwala-Yamunanagar toll plaza. The fee collection at this plaza remained suspended for at least seven hours.
The station house officer (SHO) of Chandimandir police station, Inspector Deepak, said, “The protesters started returning from the toll plaza at around 4 pm. The management officials at the National Highways Authority of India had already instructed their staff members at the toll plaza to not to indulge in any clash with the protesters. No untoward incident was reported during the farmers’ protest in the Panchkula region.”
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