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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Delhi open on Bharat bandh but footfall low

At least 600 police personnel were deployed in New Delhi district, at key points where mobilisation was expected such as India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Krishi Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan, the Agriculture Minister's house and offices of political parties.

Written by Ananya Tiwari | New Delhi | December 9, 2020 1:08:02 am
Delhi open on Bharat bandh but footfall lowAt Azadpur mandi, Tuesday. Most traders here were on strike after a decision to join the bandh. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

The impact of the Bharat bandh in the capital Tuesday was minimal, with police keeping a watch at key areas to ensure law and order is maintained. Mandis and markets also remained open but some reported low footfall.

At least 600 police personnel were deployed in New Delhi district, at key points where mobilisation was expected such as India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Krishi Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan, the Agriculture Minister’s house and offices of political parties. “The area was patrolled and no untoward incident was reported. No gatherings were held without permission,” said DCP (New Delhi) Dr Eish Singhal.

In the East district, where farmers are protesting at the Ghazipur border that connects the capital with Ghaziabad, a few protesters blocked a portion of NH-24 in the afternoon. DCP (East) Jasmeet Singh said it was opened to the public after police personnel spoke to them.

He said no complaints regarding forcible closure of shops were received from the district: “All markets were open, and no untoward incident was reported.”

In Southwest Delhi, too, markets remained open. DCP (Southwest) Ingit Pratap Singh said, “No complaints were received. Apart from district police, outside force too was present. The highway that connects Dhaula Kuan to Rajokri was not blocked.”

A senior police officer said a case has been registered against Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Anil Chaudhary and his supporters for protesting at ITO, at IP Estate police station under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order), 269 (negligent act), 270 (malignant act).

Markets, mandis report few customers

At Azadpur mandi, while most traders were on strike following a decision by the administration to join the bandh in support of farmers’ demands, some traders arrived, hoping to make sales from their previous days’ produce.

Sheshe Rao (53), a trader of guavas said, “There are no customers today. We are trying to sell older guavas.” Vijay Aggrawal (61), who was selling oranges, said, “Hardly any customers came today. We have not even unloaded the trucks.”

Similar scenes were witnessed at Ghazipur and Okhla mandis, which also saw a few traders set up shop. Azadpur mandi chairperson Adil Ahmed Khan told The Indian Express, “Trade at Azadpur, Okhla and Ghazipur mandis was largely shut. Some traders tried to sell their produce which arrived at night, but even they shut by noon.”

Since the protests began, the number of vegetables and fruits at Azadpur, Asia’s largest produce market has nearly fallen by half — from around 12,000 metric tonnes to 6,000-7,000 metric tonnes on an average — leading to some fluctuation in prices.

At markets across the city, associations said sales were hit.

Ashwani Marwah, general secretary of the Traders’ Association Lajpat Nagar, said, “Footfall was less compared to last Tuesday, probably due to the protests happening in various parts of Delhi like ITO, CM House. Moreover, customers from NCR did not come at all due to issues at the border.” Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said: “There were no customers, zero footfall.”

Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders’ Association of Connaught Place, said, “Maybe people did not wish to get stuck in traffic jams due to the protests. Sales were down by around 50-60%.” K K Balli, president of Gandhi Nagar market traders’ association, said: “Transporters are not booking goods and are waiting and watching how the situation unfolds.”

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