April 11, 2021 1:07:32 am
Stepping up their protest against the three farm laws, farmers began a 24-hour blockade of the Western and Eastern Peripheral expressways at 8 am on Saturday, stating that their intent is to put pressure on the government and not to trouble people.
The two expressways will be blocked till 8 am Sunday. Commuters are being rerouted by police and volunteers from the expressway entry points.
Amrit Pal (18), a protester from Patiala, started rerouting vehicles near the Eastern (Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal) Expressway entry point at 8 am. Every time a car or bike reached the point, he suggested an alternate route. “My friend and I volunteered to stop people at the entry since they will anyway be stopped ahead. We advised them to turn around so they do not waste much fuel,” he said.
A few kilometres from the entry point, a stage had been set up by the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) and trolleys were placed to block the route.
Satnam Singh Pannu, KMSC state president, said, “We are here to tell the government that we are unhappy with the laws. We do not want to trouble ordinary people. In case there is an ambulance or a family with an emergency, we are letting them pass.”
At the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (Western) Expressway, around 10 police officers were deployed at the entry point.
An officer said, “Haryana Police officers had announced that the expressways will be blocked beforehand. Hence, most people were aware and have avoided coming this side. Otherwise, we are suggesting alternate routes.”
In case someone was going towards Delhi, they were asked to go through Singhu border and the nearby villages. Those heading towards parts of Haryana were told to use Rohtak Road.
Near Kundli toll plaza, a stage had been set up by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha while hundreds of farmers sat on carpets on the ground.
Lakhvir Singh (30) from Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib, who reached the protest site on Friday night, said, “We have come prepared with mattresses in our trolleys. There is enough food and water around. We have been using the toll plaza washrooms.”
Five trucks were serving food at the spot and water was being distributed at regular intervals. A langar volunteer said they had fed around 1,000 people since the morning. Further, five ambulances were at the spot to tend to medical emergencies.
Harjinder Singh (43) and nine other protesters from Ludhiana came especially for the expressway protest on Saturday morning. He said, “This is our fifth time at the protest. We reached last night… we have come with 250 bottles of water and are distributing them.”
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