Farmers begin march towards Delhi, Punjab-Haryana borders fortified

The farmers plan to head to Delhi from the Ambala-Shambhu, Khanauri-Jind and the Dabwali borders

Delhi Police ensure tight security for 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' march at Singhu border. (photo: Vipin/National Herald)
Delhi Police ensure tight security for 'Delhi Chalo' farmers' march at Singhu border. (photo: Vipin/National Herald)


Farmers from Punjab on Tuesday morning, 13 February commenced their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press for their demands, after a meeting with two Union ministers over their demands, including legal guarantee to MSP for crops, remained inconclusive.

The farmers plan to head to Delhi from the Ambala-Shambhu, Khanauri-Jind and the Dabwali borders.

Many farmers along with their tractor trolleys begun the march around 10 am from Fatehgarh Sahib and are moving towards Delhi via Shambhu border. Another group is moving towards the national capital from Mehal Kalan in Sangrur through Khanauri border.

Authorities in Haryana have fortified the state's borders with Punjab at many places in Ambala, Jind, Fatehabad, Kurukshetra and Sirsa using concrete blocks, iron nails and barbed wire to scuttle the proposed march.

Riot control vehicles, including water cannons, have also been deployed at many places at Punjab and Haryana borders.

The Haryana government has also imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in as many as 15 districts, prohibiting the assembly of five or more people and banning any kind of demonstration or march with tractor trolleys.

Security in Delhi has been intensified with multi-layer barricades, concrete blocks, iron nails and walls of containers at border points.

On Monday, tractor trolleys set out from different parts of Punjab to join the protest march.

On the tractor trolleys sporting flags of the farm unions, farmers packed essential items, including dry ration, mattresses and utensils, among others.

An excavator was also among the convoy of tractor trolleys, with a farmer in Amritsar saying it would be used to break the barricades.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha had announced that farmers would head to Delhi on Tuesday to press the Centre to accept their demands, including the enactment of a law to guarantee a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops.

Sarwan Singh Pandher -- general secretary of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, while referring to the deadlock with the Centre over their demands, said they did not want a new committee concerning their demands, saying any committee would have meant putting the issue on the backburner.

"We do not want to break any barricades. We want resolution of our issues through dialogue. But if they (the Centre) do nothing then what will we do? It is our compulsion," said Pandher while speaking to reporters in Fatehgarh Sahib district on Tuesday.

He claimed that they were getting immense support from the farmers in Haryana.

Following a second round of meeting that lasted more than five hours with the Centre late on Monday, Pandher said, "We do not think the government is serious about any of our demands. We do not think they want to fulfil our demands. Tomorrow, we will march towards Delhi at 10 am."

However, Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda, who, along with Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, attended the second round of talks with the farm leaders, said a consensus was reached on most issues and a formula was proposed for resolving some others through the formation of a committee.

"We are still hopeful that farmer bodies will hold talks. We will try to resolve issues in the coming days," Munda said after the meeting.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) (Non-Political) leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said the government wanted the formation of a committee on the issues of giving legal guarantee to MSP, debt waiver and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations.

"We will apprise our farmers in a forum what happened in the meeting," he said.

"It is our compulsion to move towards Delhi," he added when asked about the 'Delhi Chalo' march call.

Besides a legal guarantee for MSP, the farmers are also demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm labourers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases and "justice" for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, reinstatement of the Land Acquisition Act - 2013, withdrawal from the World Trade Organization, and compensation for families of farmers who died during the previous agitation, among others.

In Haryana, 64 companies of paramilitary personnel and 50 from the Haryana Police have been deployed across various districts.

These personnel are equipped with anti-riot gear and stationed in the border and the sensitive districts.

Additionally, drones and CCTV cameras are being used to monitor miscreants and mischievous elements, said a spokesperson.

The Haryana Police is fully capable of addressing any disturbances or untoward incidents, said the spokesperson.

In a traffic advisory, police have asked commuters travelling from Chandigarh to Delhi should consider the route via Panchkula- Barwala- Saha- Barara- Babain- Ladwa- Pipli- Kurukshetra.

They can also take the route via Panchkula- Barwala- Yamunanagar- Ladwa- Indri- Karnal. The same routes can be used for travelling from Delhi to Chandigarh, they said in a post on X.

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