NEW DELHI: The tricolour fluttered atop tractors, loud protest songs and speech blared from the speakers as farmers blocked the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway at Haryana’s Palwal toll plaza on Saturday.
Farmers blocked the Palwal toll plaza on the six-lane expressway by squatting on the road in the scorching heat. Security has been heightened in the area.
Palwal toll plaza, almost 85 km from Delhi, marks the start of the 136-km expressway which ends at Kundli. Farmers will block the way from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to mark 100 days of protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.
The agitated farmers chanted anti-government slogans as they marched from their protest site, two km away from the toll plaza.
The blockade led to disruption of traffic at the toll stations. Many commuters said that they did not know about the protest. Few of then were allowed to go and the rest were turned back.
The six-lane KMP expressway was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 2018. It has ten tolled entry and exit points, 52 underpasses and 23 overpasses.
It was built to decongest the ever-busy roads of Delhi, especially by reducing the number of trucks entering the national capital, thus helping to curb pollution.
The farmers’ agitation against the three contentious agricultural laws, had begun on November 26. In these 100 days, the farmers have braved harsh weather conditions, but remained firm on their demands.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur to demand a complete repeal of laws, enacted in September, last year.
The farmers want the repeal of the contentious laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP).
The farmers claim that the laws will weaken the MSP system. The Centre, however, has touted the laws as historic, long-needed reforms in the agriculture sector and said that it will bring investment to the market. It also assured that the MSP system will remain as it is.
The agitated farmers, however, fear that the laws will leave them at the mercy of the big corporates and end the ‘mandi system,’ where farmers are assured of a minimum price for their produce.
Multiple rounds of talks have taken place between the government and the farm leaders, but so far it has failed to end the deadlock.