Bharat bandh brings Malwa to standstill

Markets, private establishments remain shut I Protesters block highways, railway tracks

Bharat bandh brings Malwa to standstill

Vehicles stranded on the Amritsar-Delhi National Highway in Jalandhar. Tribune photo

Tribune Reporters
Moga/Bathinda, March 26

The 12-hour Bharat bandh call received a good response in Moga and its adjoining districts. While markets, private establishments and industries remained closed, the road and rail traffic across the Malwa belt was adversely hit.

Farmers, farm labourers, commission agents, trade unions and activists of political parties squatted on railway lines, and national and state highways. There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the region. The emergency services were exempt from the blockade.

Arhtiyas, traders come out in support

  • Arhtiyas, trade unions and activists of political parties joined protesting farmers and squatted on railway tracks and highways
  • At some places in Moga, Ferozepur and Barnala, farm activists were seenurging traders to keep their establishments closed

Reports of road blockades were received from all cities and towns of the Malwa belt. Blockades were reported from more than 100 locations in the Malwa belt. In Moga, the roads were blocked at 11 locations, besides a sit-in on the Moga-Ferozepur railway track.

Milk supply hit in muktsar district

  • The milk supply remained affected in most parts of Muktsar district on Friday as farmers and farm labourers blocked all major roads
  • Markets in Muktsar, Malout and Gidderbaha towns in the district remained closed. The Bharat bandh passed off peacefully

BKU (Ekta) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri said farmers observed a complete blockade of rail and road traffic. Buses, trucks, taxis and other vehicles were not allowed to ply, giving a tough time to commuters.

Markets in Moga, Baghapurana, Dharamkot, Kot-ise-Khan, Nihalsinghwala and other towns of the district remained closed. BKU (Krantikari) activists blocked the Moga-Jalandhar state highway, while BKU (Ekta) members protested on the Moga-Kotkapura highway.

Residents of Karahewala village protested at the bus stand and blocked the Moga-Amritsar road. BKU (Ekta) activists protested in front of a silo at Dagru village and at a toll plaza near Chandpurana village. BKU (Krantikari) activists squatted on the railway track between Moga and Ferozepur at Dagru. They also protested at Baghapurana and blocked the Moga-Bathinda highway.

The overall bandh was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported in the district.

In Bathinda and Mansa districts, roads and markets, both in city and rural areas, wore a deserted look. Buses of PRTC as well private operators did not ply, while hospitals witnessed up to 70 per cent fall in patient inflow in OPDs. Members of different trade unions and arhtiya associations also joined farmers in the protest and raised slogans against the three farm laws.

Farmers blocked roads at Jeeda toll plaza on the Bathinda-Amritsar National Highway, Ghudda on the Bathinda-Badal Road, Lehrabega toll plaza and Rampura Phul on the Bathinda-Chandigarh National Highway and Bhagta on the Bajakhana-Barnala Road. Farmers also protested on the Bathinda-Jind railway track at Maur Mandi. A large number of farmers, labourers and women from different villages participated in the bandh.

In Bathinda city, almost all markets remained closed during the day. Only chemist shops and hospitals remained open but these too witnessed thin footfall. Protesters kept making announcements from loudspeakers mounted on vehicles to keep the shops closed. The traders’ fraternity also lent support to the bandh call. The wholesale vegetable market of Bathinda did not witness much activity as no fresh stock of vegetables or fruits arrived in the mandi and vendors participated in the bandh call. In the rural areas and different mandis (blocks) in the district such as Goniana Mandi, Sangat Mandi, Bhucho Mandi, Rampura Phul, Maur Mandi and Rama Mandi among other small markets in villages remained shut during the day. But liquor vends were operational.

All markets remained closed in both Sangrur and Barnala districts. Various farmer organisations have decided to intensify their agitation against the central farm laws in the coming days.

All markets remained closed in Ropar, Chamkaur Sahib and Morinda while trains were disrupted as farmers sat on a dharna at various places today. There was, however, no impact of the bandh in Nangal where all markets remained open throughout the day.

The farmer unions had already exempt Kiratpur Sahib and Anandpur

Sahib from the bandh call due to the ongoing Hola Mohalla festival.

(With inputs from Sangrur, Ropar & Muktsar)

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