Intensifying their agitation, farmers’ unions close toll plazas across Haryana and Punjab
The union members started gathering at various toll plazas, where the motorists were being charged, and forced the operators to close down the toll collection counters on Saturday
Intensifying their protest against the recently-enacted farm laws, members of different farmers’ unions on Saturday forced all the toll plazas across Haryana and Punjab to close, giving a free pass to motorists. The union members started gathering at various toll plazas, where the motorists were being charged, and forced the operators to close down the toll collection counters.
The toll plazas on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway in Panchkula, Chandigarh-Delhi highway at Ambala and Karnal, besides in Panipat, Sonepat, Hisar, Bhiwani, Rohtak and other places where toll was being charged from the road users were all forced to closed down operations.
"Vehicles are not paying the toll since midnight. Some farmers had come and forced us to close the toll plaza. We haven't received any information yet as to how long this will continue but the farmers are saying that it will remain toll-free throughout the day till midnight," said Ravi Tiwari, in-charge of Shambhu Toll Plaza in Ambala, on Saturday.
Apart from Ambala, farmers also closed Bastara Toll Plaza in Karnal late last night.
The farmers were adamant that until the government fulfils their demands to withdraw the laws, the movement would continue in a similar way.
This would lead to huge losses for the toll plaza operators. Thousands of vehicles cross the Bastara Toll Plaza on the Delhi-Chandigarh route every day. Around Rs 200 is charged here.
Scores of farmers across the country, including Haryana, are also heading towards Delhi to join the agitation amid the deadlock with the Central government over the new farm laws. They also planned to block the Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Agra highways on Saturday.
Besides, the farmers' unions have threatened to block railway tracks if the laws are not repealed.
According to reports the, toll plazas in Punjab have been closed for the past two months, causing a revenue loss of about Rs 150 cr to the state exchequer.
The leaders of farmers’ unions had on Thursday announced intensification of their agitation from Saturday onwards. Giving an ultimatum to the Union government, they had announced to block all the toll collection barriers (toll plazas) on the National and State Highways. Now the farmers will stage dharnas in front of Deputy Commissioners’ offices across Punjab from December 14.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has appealed to the protesters to stop their agitation as talks are still going on.