Hundreds of farmers protesting the new farm laws gathered at a Noida-Delhi border point on Tuesday, stopping traffic movement on a key route connecting Uttar Pradesh and the national capital, officials said.
The farmers remained at the Chilla border where multi-layered security has been deployed on both the Delhi as well as Noida side with police personnel in huge numbers, prohibiting the protestors from proceeding towards the national capital.
Some paramilitary personnel were also stationed on the Delhi side of the border, with metal barricades set up to stop the movement of farmers who have come from various districts of western UP to proceed further.
In view of the closure of the road in the evening, the traffic police of Delhi and Noida advised commuters to take alternative routes.
“Chilla border that links Delhi to UP through Noida has been closed. Those drivers who want to go to Noida can take U-turn from under the Ghazipur-Akshardham flyover and also through Sarai Kale Khan,” the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.
Its Noida counterpart also took to Twitter to caution commuters.
“The Chilla border has been closed due to the ongoing protest by farmers. Commuters can take alternative Kalindi Kunj or DND routes to go to their destination,” it stated.
The protestors at Delhi-Noida border belong to Bharatiya Kisan Union and other factions of farmers’ unions who want to reach the national capital to join the bigger stir launched by farmers of Punjab and Haryana to protest the new farm laws.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.
Around 9 pm, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noida, Rajesh S said the situation remained unchanged, with several farmers staying put on the border.
The law and order situation is under control but that route had to be closed because of the stir. We are monitoring the situation and trying to pacify the farmers. It is yet unclear whether they will vacate the border in the night and clear the road, he told PTI.
Thousands of commuters remained stuck on the Noida Link road in Delhi as traffic moved bumper-to-bumper on the key route connecting the national capital and Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday evening.
At 7.30 pm, the beeline of vehicles stretched from Chilla border to Vikas Marg that leads towards ITO, a distance of around five-kilometre, according to eye-witnesses.
“This is crazy! I have been stuck for more than an hour and have barely managed to reach from the Yamuna Bridge to the Akshardham flyover. The road is choked and I have been driving at snail’s pace and now running out of patience,” Vinay Singh, a Noida resident, told PTI over the phone.
Animesh Kashyap, who lives in Noida, said he got stuck in traffic after crossing the Yamuna river.
“It’s been over an hour and the situation still does not look any good. Apparently, it’s going to be a long haul because I hear that Chilla border is closed. I may park my car at a friend’s place in Mayur Vihar and then look for some other option, like the metro to go to Noida. But right now, reaching Mayur Vihar also seems impossible,” Kashyap said.
Some commuters also lamented “lack” of any traffic police personnel on the road to help people through the situation and adequate prior advisory.