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14,000 farmers, 1200 tractors gear up for Delhi Chalo march

February 21, 2024 09:55 IST

Farmers protesting at two border points between Punjab and Haryana will resume their "Delhi Chalo" march on Wednesday after they rejected the Centre's proposal for procuring pulses, maize and cotton at the MSP by government agencies for five years.

IMAGE: Protesting farmers bring heavy machinery, including hydraulic cranes and earthmovers, to Shambhu on the Punjab-Haryana border as their 'Delhi Chalo' protest march is to resume on February  on Tuesday. Photograph: ANI Photo

Thousands of farmers, who began their march to Delhi on February 13, were stopped at the Haryana border, where they clashed with security personnel.

The farmers have been camping at the Shambhu and Khanauri points between Punjab and Haryana since then.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha are spearheading the "Delhi Chalo" march to press the BJP-led Centre to accept their demands, including a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops and farm loan waiver.


The last round of talks between the farmers and the government ended past midnight on Sunday when a panel of ministers proposed buying five crops -- moong dal, urad dal, tur dal, maize and cotton -- from farmers at the MSP for five years through central agencies.

The Centre has estimated that nearly 14,000 people have gathered along the Punjab-Haryana border with 1,200 tractor-trolleys, 300 cars, 10 mini-buses as well as small vehicles and conveyed its strong objections to the Punjab government for it, sources said on Tuesday.

In a communication to the Punjab government, the Union Home Ministry also said that the deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state has been a matter of concern over the last few days and asked it to take stringent action against lawbreakers.

The home ministry said many miscreants in the guise of farmers were indulging in stone-pelting, mobilising heavy machinery along the Shambhu on Punjab's border with Haryana.

Protesting farmers have been staying put at Shambhu and Khanauri points on Punjab's border with Haryana after their 'Delhi Chalo' march to press the Centre for various demands, including a legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for crops, was stopped by security forces which led to clashes last week.

IMAGE: Farmers gather at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border. Photograph: ANI Photo

Farmer leaders taking part in agitation on Monday rejected the Centre's proposal of procuring pulses, maize and cotton at MSP by government agencies for five years, saying it was not in farmers' interest and announced that they will march towards the national capital on Wednesday.

As per the reports prepared by central security agencies, nearly 14,000 people have been allowed to gather at the Shambhu barrier on Rajpura-Ambala Road, with nearly 1,200 tractor-trolleys, 300 cars, 10 mini-buses and other small vehicles, the home ministry said.

Similarly, Punjab has allowed a gathering of around 4,500 people with close to 500 tractor-trolleys at the Dhabi-Gujran barrier, it claimed.

The deteriorating law-and-order situation in Punjab has been a matter of concern over the last few days, since it seems to have freely allowed miscreants and law-breakers in the guise of protest to indulge in stone-pelting, mobilising heavy machinery on the border with a marked intention of spreading unrest and disorder in neighbouring states, the home ministry told the Punjab government.

In view of the above, it is requested to take immediate review and stringent action to curb all such disrupting activities in the guise of farmers' protest, it said.

The home ministry also said that as per reports, the court has asked the Punjab government to ensure that protestors do not gather in large numbers, especially raising serious objections on the use of tractor-trolleys, JCBs and other heavy equipment on highways.

As per reports from central security agencies, there has been a marked deterioration in the law-and-order machinery in Punjab in handling the recent agitation by a few groups of farmers protesting in the state, the home ministry told the Punjab government asking it to take action on it.

At the Shambhu border point, the farmers have brought excavators in order to make their way through the multi-layered barricades set up by the Haryana security personnel. Some of the farmers are carrying masks to protect themselves from tear-gas shells.

Tight security arrangements are in place at the Shambhu and Khanauri border points.

The Haryana Police has urged its Punjab counterpart to seize bulldozers and other earthmoving equipment from the inter-state border, which they say the protesters will use to break the barricades.

These could pose a threat to the security forces deployed at the border, Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) Shatrujeet Kapoor has said in an urgent communication to his Punjab counterpart, Gaurav Yadav.

Later, in a communication to senior police officers, the Punjab DGP said no JCB machines and other heavy earthmoving equipment should be allowed to reach the Khanauri and Shambu border points as inputs indicate that the protesters plan to break the barricades and enter Haryana.

"It is reliably learnt that heavy earthmoving equipment, including proclain (digger), JCB etc., that have been further modified/armour-plated have been acquired by protesting farmers and have been deployed at the border locations where the protesters are camping right now," the letter written by the Haryana DGP stated.

"These machines are meant to be used by the protesters to damage the barricades, thereby posing serious danger to the police and paramilitary forces deployed on duty, and are likely to compromise the security scenario in Haryana," it said.

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