Farmers protest against the three farm laws entered ninth day on Friday with the protestors sticking to their demand for the repeal of the legislations. Thousands remained at the Delhi border points amid heavy police deployment as their representative groups will meet later in the day to discuss the future course of action after talks between them and three union ministers failed to yield any resolution on Thursday.
Farmer leaders have clearly stated that the agitation will continue till the farm laws are repealed. In another related development, the government has softened its stance on some demands of the farmers. Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has hinted that the government will consider the demands of the farmers for level playing field between the APMCs and private markets or trade area outside the APMCs and other issues in the farm laws.
He said that the government is committed to protect the APMCs and consider the issues such as market fee, registration of traders so there should be similarity in the APMCs and trade areas outside the APMCs.
Earlier on Thursday evening, the fourth round of talks with farmers' organisations at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi failed to break the impasse. At the outset of the meeting, Tomar reiterated the government's commitment towards the welfare of the farmers and assured that the MSP will remain and therefore the farmers should not fear that it will go away.
Meanwhile, protesting farmers from Uttar Pradesh have blocked National Highway-9 near the UP Gate while those from Punjab and Haryana are staying put at other border points leading to Delhi. Another round of discussions between the farmer unions and Centre is slated for Saturday.
Security personnel at border points - Singhu, Tikri, Chilla and Ghazipur - stand guard, as the ongoing protests entered their ninth day on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police suggested alternative routes to commuters entering or exiting the city. The Delhi Traffic Police took to twitter to inform commuters about the closure of Singhu, Lampur, Auchandi, Safiabad, Piao Maniyari, and Saboli borders. They also said that National Highway-44 was closed on both sides.
They instructed commuters to take alternative routes via National Highway-8, Bhopra, Apsara border, and Peripheral expressway. "Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba & GTK road. Avoid Outer Ring Rd , GTK road, NH 44," the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.
According to the police, Tikri and Jharoda borders are closed for any traffic movement while Badusarai border is open only for light motor vehicles like cars and two wheelers. Jhatikara border is open only for two-wheelers, it said. However, if anyone needs to commute towards Harayana, they can go via Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri National Highway-8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera Borders, the police said.
"The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic from Noida to Delhi due to farmers protests near Gautam Budh Dwar. People are advised to avoid Noida link road for coming to Delhi and use DND," they said in a tweet.
Since the Ghazipur border on National Highway-24 is closed for traffic due to the protests, the police advised commuters coming from Ghaziabad to Delhi to use the Apsara or Bhopra borders or the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) expressway. The protesters had on Wednesday threatened to block other roads of Delhi in the coming days if the new agriculture laws were not scrapped soon.
Meanwhile, The Bundelkhand Kisan Union (BKU) has announced its support to the farmers' demand for convening a special session of Parliament to repeal the Centre's three farm laws. "The three laws passed by the Union government are anti-farmers. They will not help farmers in any way and will only force them to commit suicide," said BKU president Vimal Kumar.
He said that the government should immediately convene a special session of the Parliament and withdraw all the three controversial laws and set up a 'Krishi Ayog consisting only of agriculture scientists and farmers," Kumar said. He said about 500 farmers of the Bundelkhand region are reaching Delhi on Friday to in the famers' agitation.
(With Inputs from Agencies)