Farmers protesting agri laws block KMP expressway in Haryana

CHANDIGARH: Farmers protesting the Centre’s three agriculture laws on Saturday blocked the six-lane Kundli–Manesar–Palwal expressway at some places in Haryana to mark the completion of 100 days of their agitation at the Delhi borders.

The protest, which began at 11 am, would continue till 4 pm.

The call for blocking the expressway was given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of protesting farmer unions spearheading the agitation against the agriculture-related legislations.

The 136-km Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway is also known as the western peripheral expressway.

The 53-km Manesar-Palwal section was inaugurated by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in 2016 and the 83-km Kundli-Manesar section was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.

“We will block the KMP expressway. However, emergency vehicles will be allowed,” general secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakaunda), Jagmohan Singh said.

Farmers in Haryana’s Sonipat district brought their tractor-trolleys and parked them in the middle of a stretch of the KMP expressway.

Protesters, including women, carrying their respective union flags as well as black flags shouted slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre for not acceding to their demands.

“Our agitation against three farm laws will continue unless the Centre withdraws these laws. We will not step back,” a protester in Sonipat said.

In Palwal district too, farmers staged a dharna.

The KMP expressway was built to decongest the ever-busy roads of Delhi, especially by reducing the number of trucks entering the national capital, thus helping to curb pollution.

It provides a high-speed link between northern and southern Haryana districts and gives an uninterrupted high-speed link for traffic, especially commercial traffic, from Haryana to neighbouring states.

Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November at the Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.