Malwa: Blockades bring rail, road traffic to grinding halt

Commuters face tough time | Offices, markets remain shut | Banks forced to close | Govt employees lend support

Malwa: Blockades bring rail, road traffic to grinding halt

A farmer leader addresses a gathering at a protest site during the Bharat Bandh in Mansa on Monday; and protesters pitch tents on the Jalandhar-Delhi National Highway. Photos: Pawan Sharma

Patiala/Bathinda, Sept 27

Commuters in the Malwa belt on Monday were at the receiving end of the Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) as national and state highways were blocked by protesters.

Protesters pitch tents on the Jalandhar-Delhi National Highway. Photos: Pawan Sharma

In Patiala, offices and private establishments remained closed, while farmers forcibly entered banks and asked them to shut down.

Commuters were seen walking in search of conveyance on Patiala-Bathinda national highways as all state-run buses remained off road. Government employees scrambled to reach their offices. Army vehicles were also not allowed by protesters at some places, though union leaders had appealed to protesters not to cause any problems to commuters.

From the mandis to the district courts and Punjabi University campus, work remained suspended throughout the city.

In Fatehgarh Sahib, a complete bandh was observed in the district and all commercial establishments, shops and schools remained closed. Industrial units operated as usual.

Farmers protested at 19 places in Bathinda and nine places in Mansa. In Bathinda, farmers staged protest on Bathinda-Chandigarh NH-7 and Bathinda-Amritsar NH-54. Besides, farmers blocked rail tracks at Rampura Phul and Maur. Traders, arhtiyas, lawyers and all political parties, barring the BJP, supported the bandh. Employee unions also joined the protesters in Bathinda and Mansa.

In Faridkot, the bandh call got a good response with mass participation from the rural areas. In Ludhiana, farmers completely blocked Ladhowal Toll Plaza on National Highway 44. Passengers remained stranded at the Ludhiana Railway Station and Bus Stand. In Muktsar district, protests were held at 19 places. In Ropar, the bandh passed off peacefully. The blockades were lifted at 4 pm at all places. — TNS

(With inputs from Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Faridkot, Muktsar & Ropar)

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