Notwithstanding rain and cold, farmers staying put at the Noida-Delhi border intensified their stir on Saturday with around 150 of them marching to a hospital owned by the BJP’s Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma, demanding removal of the three Central agri laws. They also distributed packets of rice and lentils to commuters, urging them to support the farmers’ demand.
According to Noida Traffic Police officials, one carriageway of the Noida-Delhi Link Road at the Chilla border where a group of farmers is camping since December 1 is closed for movement while the other side (Delhi to Noida) is open.
“Commuters can take the DND or the Kalindi Kunj routes to travel to and fro Delhi,” an official said.
Protestors under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) stayed put at the Chilla border, while those of BKU (Lok Shakti) continued to camp at the Dalit Prerna Sthal.
Carpets spread on the road for the sit-in got wet in the morning rain and the temperature also dropped a few notches, but the demonstration continued amid heavy deployment of police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel at the protest sites.
In the afternoon, over 150 protesters marched to Kailash Hospital in Noida which is owned by BJP leader and Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma. According to a local police official, no untoward incident was reported during the incident.
The protesting farmers lit bonfires at the Chilla border to keep themselves warm, but said they won’t call off their stir until their demands are met by the Centre. The protestors gathered at the Noida border want to proceed to Delhi to join the bigger stir called by farmers from Punjab and Haryana.
The three farm laws enacted in September have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.
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