New Delhi: After 11 months, authorities on Saturday opened one carriageway of the road from Delhi to Haryana after barricades were removed at the Tikri border where thousands of farmers have been agitating against the three agri laws.
The carriageway was opened following meetings between farm union leaders and the police.
The Delhi Police on Thursday evening started removing the barricades and concertina wires it had put at Tikri Border on the Delhi-Rohtak highway.
The police had also removed similar blockades on one of the carriageways of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway at Ghazipur border on Friday. However, traffic on the stretch has not yet started.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer) Parwinder Singh said, “We had a meeting with the farmer leaders in the morning and later around 1 pm, the stretch going towards Haryana from Delhi has been opened and the traffic movement has started.
“The leaders were saying that the traffic be allowed for a particular timing, however, we have opened the road for 24 hours. The commuters with small vehicles can pass through the road.”
Singh said the farm union leaders have expressed apprehension that since their tents are on the road, in case heavy vehicles drive through and hit any of the protesters, a law-and-order issue would be created.
“There is no space for heavy vehicles to ply there and that is why, we have decided to now allow such vehicles, including truck and busses on that stretch,” Singh said.
A farmer leader said traffic movement were allowed on the stretch on Saturday for the light vehicles, including bikes, auto-rickshaws and cars, and ambulances.
The opening of the road stretch at the Tikri border would help thousands of commuters of Bahadurgarh and Delhi as well as those travelling between the national capital and going to Rajasthan from Haryana.
While the police removed a large portion of the barricades, wirings and iron nails from NH-9 (the Delhi-Meerut Expressway flyover) at Ghazipur border by Friday evening, the tents and other temporary structures erected by the protesters continued to remain there.
Multiple layers of iron and cement barricades along with concertina wires were put up by the police last year. The arrangements were further beefed up after the January 26 violence in Delhi during the farmers’ protest against three new agriculture laws of the Centre.
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait had said the future course of the protest would be chalked out by the SKM.
BKU office-bearers had said the farmers want to go to Delhi once the barricades are completely removed and are open to talks with the Centre to resolve the situation.
BKU spokesperson Saurabh Upadhyay had earlier said, “If the government wants the logjam to end, it should talk to the farmers now and we are ready for it. But if it wants the farmers’ movement to continue, we are determined to prolong it as it has already been 11 months since the protests began.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Priyanka Kashyap had said, “The process of removing the barricades from National Highway 9 has started. The temporary barricading is being removed to ease out vehicular movement. However, National Highway 24 was already open for traffic.”
Kashyap had said the police have removed the barricades on their end and are ready for vehicular movement.
The process to remove the barricades started following the October 21 Supreme Court direction, calling for unblocking of the roads that have remained out of bounds for commuters due to the anti-farm laws protests at Delhi’s border points of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur.
While the protesting farmers have been claiming that the three laws enacted last year are against their interest, the Centre has been maintaining that these legislations are pro-farmer.
Thousands of farmers have been camping at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, protesting the three contentious laws since November 26, 2020.
The Supreme Court had, on October 21, said the farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders have the right to agitate but they cannot block the roads indefinitely.