The Haryana Police has issued a traffic advisory, urging commuters to limit travel on the main roads of the state to urgent situations on February 13, as there may be potential traffic disruptions on major routes from Haryana to Punjab.
Mobile internet suspended
To ensure security, the Haryana government has also suspended mobile internet services and bulk SMS in seven districts: Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad, and Sirsa. Haryana Director General of Police Shatrujeet Kapur, along with other police officials, visited the Shambhu border near Ambala to assess the situation and make necessary arrangements.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha have announced the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, with over 200 farmers’ unions participating.
In the traffic advisory, the police have suggested alternative routes for commuters traveling from Chandigarh to Delhi and vice versa. The Ghaggar flyover at the Shambhu border has been closed for traffic, with cemented barricades placed on the road.
The Ghaggar river bed has also been dug up to prevent farmers from reaching the highway with their tractors.
The general public has been requested to travel to Punjab only in urgent circumstances. The police have issued guidelines to senior officers to minimize inconvenience to the public and maintain law and order. Traffic routes in affected districts have been temporarily changed, and preparations have been made to ensure smooth traffic flow.
Checkpoints, concrete blocks
Tight security arrangements have been put in place for February 13, with checkpoints set up at locations where farmers are expected to gather. Concrete blocks, barbed wire, sandbags, and barricades have been stocked at the Shambhu border in Ambala, as well as in Jind and Fatehabad districts.
Farmers are preparing themselves for the march to Delhi, despite criticising the Haryana government for sealing the borders with Punjab. They are gathering essential items such as dry ration, cylinders, stoves, utensils, and mattresses for the march. Tractor trolleys are being readied for the journey.
In Rajpura, farmers conducted a tractor march as part of their preparations. Some farmers have relocated from their homes to other places in Ambala to avoid detention by the Haryana police.
A three-member team of Union ministers recently held discussions with farmer organization leaders.
While the ministers assured them of a second round of meetings, the farmers have confirmed that their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march on February 13 will proceed as planned.
The farmers are also demanding a legal guarantee for MSP, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pensions for farmers and farm laborers, farm debt waiver, withdrawal of police cases, and justice for victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
In 2020, a large number of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh protested at the Shambhu border and broke police barriers to march towards Delhi. They had been protesting against the now-repealed farm laws at Delhi’s border points – Singhu, Tikri, and Ghazipur – for a year.
(With inputs from agencies)