Bharat Bandh: Farmers observed a complete Bharat Bandh on March 26 (Thursday) to press for their demand to repeal the three farm laws. The nationwide strike was organised to mark the completion of four months of agitation. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) had called the bandh. The bandh was observed till 6 pm. Though farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana, and squatted on railway tracks at several locations, however, the bandh call had a little impact across the nation.
Bharat Bandh by farmer unions against new farm reforms | Highlights
- Road and rail traffic was disrupted in several parts of Punjab and Haryana during the Bharat bandh called by farmers.
- "Barring some limited number of trains in Punjab and Haryana, the bandh has had almost zero impact across the nation. Other than in these two states, around five to six trains were delayed for some time. Less than 0.5 per cent of trains impacted nationally. Trains are running smoothly," said Railway spokesperson DJ Narain.
- There was little impact of the 'Bandh' call on the vehicular movement in Delhi. Private vehicles or public transport such as auto-rickshaws, cabs and buses were plying normally.
- Rahul Raj, who uses his own vehicle to commute to work, said that he did not witness any impact of bandh as traffic was normal and caught in jams like any other day at a major intersection.
- Vehicular movement was normal in and around Delhi University North Campus, Azadpur, Model Town, Kamla Nagar, in many parts of Ring and Outer Ring Road.
- Govind Narayan, an auto driver, said that he is picking up and dropping passengers like he was on Thursday. "Business is normal."
- There was no impact of the Bharat Bandh as early office-goers were on their routine at the metro stations and bus stands, traffic was also smooth at the Delhi–Noida Direct Flyway (DND) in the early hours in the national capital.
- The Metro saw the crowd as usual like any other day during the office time. Rickshaws, buses and private vehicles plied in South Delhi without any hindrance.
- Chamber Of Trade & Industry (CTI) chairman Brijesh Goyal said there was no impact of the bandh on markets and industrial areas in the national capital. Markets at Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Kashmiri Gate, Chandni Chowk and Sadar remained open.
- The SKM claimed that various farmer organisations, trade unions, student bodies, bar associations, political parties and representatives of state governments have supported the bandh call. In a statement, the SKM said that farmers at the protest sites around Delhi blocked roads and railway tracks.
Four Shatabdi trains cancelled
Protesters squatted on railway tracks at 32 locations across Punjab and Haryana on Friday as part of the 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmer unions protesting against agri laws, leading to disruption of rail traffic. A railway spokesperson said four Shatabdi trains have been cancelled and 31 other trains detained due to the protests. The 32 locations where train movement has been disrputed fall under the Delhi, Ambala and Ferozepur divisions of the railways.
Odisha declared closure of educational institutes
The Odisha government had declared the closure of all educational institutions across the state on March 26 in view of the nationwide Bharat Bandh call given by farmers unions protesting against the Centre's farm laws. The Congress and Left parties had announced their support to the 12-hour bandh to be observed from 6 am.
Utkal University postponed semester exams
The Utkal University announced the postponement of Plus III fifth semester exams of Arts/Science/Commerce streams that were scheduled to be held from Friday. The examinations will now be conducted on March 30.
Latest visuals from Visakhapatnam
Members of Left parties held a protest demonstration at Maddilapalem junction in Visakhapatnam today against the Centre over agriculture laws and privatisation of Vizag steel plant
Farmers block ambulance in Mohali
Farmers in Punjab have laid siege to railway tracks at multiple locations in Pujnjab. In Mohali, protesting farmers blocked roads, causing inconvenience to the public. They also blocked an ambulance.
Protesters block GT Road, railway track near Shahpur
Protesters block GT Road and railway track near Shahpur, in view of 12-hour 'Bharat Bandh' call by Samyukt Kisan Morcha against Centre's Farm Laws in Ambala.
Agitating farmers block NH-24
Hundreds of farmers blocked the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh Ghazipur border as part of their 12-hour Bharat Bandh on the completion of four months of protest over the three contentious farm laws. The farmers blocked the National Highway 24 that connects Delhi with Ghaziabad.
Bharat Bandh: What farmers are demanding
Apart from repealing of three farm laws, the demands of protesting union include cancellation of all police cases against farmers, withdrawal of electricity bill and pollution bill and reduction in prices of diesel, petrol and gas. So far, there have been 11 rounds of talks between the protesting unions and government, but deadlock continued as both sides stuck to their stand. In January, the government had offered to suspend the farm laws for 12-18 months, which was rejected by the farmer unions.
CAIT did not support Bharat Bandh
Confederation of All India Traders, which claimed representation of eight crore traders in the country, did not support the bandh call. "We are not going to participate in 'Bharat Bandh'. Markets will remain open in Delhi and other parts of the country. The ongoing deadlock can be resolved only through dialogue process. There should be discussions on amendments in the farm laws that can make existing farming profitable," CAIT's national general secretary Praveen Khandelwal had said.
Shops, factories remained open in Delhi
The Chambers of Trade and Industry, a body representing traders in Delhi, said shops and factories will remain open during the 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmers protesting against the Centre's three new farm laws. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a joint front representing farmer unions, called for a Bandh call.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted in support of Bharat Bandh
Bharat Bandh March 26
The Bharat Bandh called by SKM was supported by representatives of various farmer organisations, trade unions, student groups, lawyer associations, political parties and state governments. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the Delhi's borders -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for more than four months, demanding the repeal of farm laws and ensuring MSP of their produce. They have been protesting against the three laws since November 26 last year.
The Samkyukta Kisan Morcha had called for a nationwide shutdown from 6 am - 6 pm across the country on March 26.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi's borders for over two months demanding rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Farmers are opposing the laws, terming them against their interest as it will dismantle the mandi system and the MSP structure. Besides, they believe that the laws will give power to corporates over their lands. However, the three laws -- enacted in September 2020, have been projected by the Central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country. The government has repeatedly assured the farmers that these three laws will not do away with MSP and mandis.