Bharat Bandh: Farmers block highways, roads in Punjab, Haryana; rail services hit

CHANDIGARH: Farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana, and squatted on railway tracks at several locations disrupting road and rail traffic as part of their nationwide protest against the Centre’s new agri laws.
According to the Samkyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the farmers’ stir, said Bharat Bandh is being observed from 6 am to 6 pm to mark four months of the farmers’ agitation at Delhi’s three borders — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri.
Shops remained closed at several places in Punjab. At a few places in Haryana too shops were shuttered in support of the Bharat Bandh.
Public and private transport remained off the roads in Punjab.
In neighbouring Haryana, State Transport Minister Moolchand Sharma told PTI that Haryana Roadways bus services will be suspended in those districts where it is felt that it is not conducive to operate them in view of the farmers’ protest.
“Bus services are otherwise functional in Haryana,” he said. Since morning, farmers in the two states gathered at several highways and roads, including in Bathinda, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, Mohali, Rohtak, Ferozepur, Pathankot, Jhajjar, Jind, Panchkula, Kaithal, Yamunanagar and Bhiwani districts.
Farmer union leaders said they were allowing ambulances and other emergency vehicles as well as marriage processions to pass.
In view of the ‘Holla Mohalla’ festival at Sri Anandpur Sahib, vehicles carrying devotees were being allowed to commute. The protesters have even arranged ‘langar’ for the devotees at the protest sites.
Haryana BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni, in a video message on Friday, appealed to the protesting farmers to ensure the smooth passage of essential supplies or even sick persons travelling in private vehicles or those travelling in neighbouring areas.
“We have to protest peacefully,” Chaduni said.
The Bharat Bandh had its effect on rail services in Punjab and Haryana.
Protesters squatted on railway tracks at several locations, including in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Ambala, Jind, Jhajjar, Panchkula and some other districts in the two states, leading to disruption of rail traffic. —PTI

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