Farmers block NH-9 for 5 hours, rush-hour traffic to Delhi crawls
Protesters End Stir, But May Return If All Demands Are Not Met Soon
Ghaziabad: Commuters taking NH-9 to Delhi had a harrowing time reaching office as more than 300 farmers blocked the highway for almost five hours after being denied entry to Delhi. The snarls started early in the morning at Sector 69 as farmers began their march. The situation turned worse after the protesters, who had come on tractors and foot, were stopped at UP Gate
Saloni Gupta, who had an important meeting at 11.30am in her office in Delhi, was stuck at UP Gate with just 10 minutes to go for the session. She later told TOIshe could reach her office only around 1pm. Traffic was stalled on one side of the elevated road at Raj Nagar Extension until the protest got over. Those coming from Mohan Nagar and Vaishali had to go to Anand Vihar to reach Delhi.
The farmers ended their protest later in the day after the Union government agreed to five of their 15 demands, the farmers’ organisation leading the protest announced. The farmers had been demanding pending sugarcane dues, loan waivers, reduced power tariff, free school education for their children, and implementation of the Swaminathan Committee’s report, among others.
The farmers said they would return if their remaining demands were not met soon.
SP (traffic) SN Singh said people coming from Indirapuram, Lal Kuan and Noida Extension took the Dabur junction from NH-9 to travel towards Delhi.
Sources said there was lack of coordination between the traffic police in Ghaziabad and Noida, which helped the snarl assume such massive proportion. While officers in Noida police said they had informed their counterparts well in advance, Ghaziabad police said they got intimation only on Saturday morning. SP (city) Shlok Kumar said around 7am, he received information from Noida police that farmers will march to Delhi via UP gate. “I was continuously talking to Noida police on the route the farmers would take. I was told that the protesters would take the DND, which is why we did not make any diversion. But after getting proper information, we made arrangements accordingly,” he added.
Police said over 250 personnel from eight police stations were deployed at specific locations to control the marching protesters. The protest was lifted after a team of farmers met representatives of the Centre. Apart from stopping the protesters, a joint team of Delhi and Ghaziabad police diverted traffic heading to UP Gate through a single lane on NH-9. They also manned multiple layers of barricades. In Delhi, police teams were deployed around Jantar Mantar, Rajpath, Lok Kalyan Marg and Vijay Chowk.