According to leaders, farmers have reached on an agreement with the police over the route on which this tractor rally will be held.
Thousands of farmers opposing the Centre’s new agri laws will enter the national capital with tractors on Republic Day as the Delhi Police has given its nod to the ‘kisan tractor parade’, farmer leaders claimed on Saturday.
However, Delhi Police Additional Public Relation Officer Anil Mittal said, “We are in the final stages of talks with farmers.”
Since November 28 last year, farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the laws at several Delhi border points, including Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, and demanding the legislations be repealed.
Over two lakh tractors are expected to take part in the parade and there will be around five routes. The tractor parades will be taken out only after 12 pm, after the Republic Day parade on Delhi’s Rajpath concludes, according to protesting farmer unions.
The Delhi Police has given permission to the farmers’ tractor parade on January 26, farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar claimed after attending a meeting between the unions and senior police officers.
The tractor parade will start from the Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri border points of Delhi, but the final details of routes are yet to be finalised, said Kohar, who is a senior member of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of the agitating unions.
Farmer leaders said that five routes have been decided in-principle and farmers will cover 100-km with tractors on every route, and added that 70 to 78 per cent of the routes will be inside Delhi while the remaining will be outside the national capital.
Sources said that one possible route for the tractor parade from Singhu border will be to Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar and it will pass through the Kanjhawala and Bawana areas and then return to the protest site.
Farmers camping at the Tikri border point will start their tractor parade from the protest site and cover areas like Nangloi, Najafgarh, Badli, and Kundli Manesar Palwal (KMP) Expressway, they said.
For farmers camping at the Ghazipur border point, their tractor parade will cover areas like Apsra border-Ghaziabad-Duhai and return to Ghazipur, the sources said.
However, tractor parade routes for farmers camping at Shahjahanpur and Palwal have not been decided yet, they said.
Farmer leader Darshan Pal said that “barricades set up at Delhi borders will be removed on January 26 and farmers will take out tractor parade after entering the national capital”. “We have almost finalised fives routes,” Pal, who is also a member of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, said.
Another farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that as thousands of farmers will participate in the parade, there will be no single route as it is not possible to manage huge crowds on a particular route.
Earlier, there have been three rounds of meetings between the unions and police officers from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, but it was the fourth-round of talks over the tractor parade on Friday where both sides reached an agreement.
While police tried to convince farmer leaders to hold their tractor parade outside the national capital, they were adamant on holding the proposed rally on Delhi’s busy Outer Ring Road.
Meanwhile, a control room has been set up by the unions to make arrangements for the January 26 tractor parade.
A farmer leader said that 2,500 volunteers will be deployed to facilitate the movement of tractors but their number could be increased depending upon the crowd.
Kirti Kisan Union president Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, who presided over a meeting of the Punjab farmers’ unions, said that more than one lakh tractors are expected to arrive from the state.
“This is going to be a historic rally. We will have around 2,500 volunteers who will part of the tractor rally on Republic Day. In case, any one needs assistance or help during the rally, these volunteers will assist them. They will be responsible to ensure smooth movement of tractors in an organised and disciplined manner,” he said.
The volunteers will also attend to emergencies if any, Dhudike said.
“Each volunteer will be given badges, jackets and identity cards. They will follow the tractors on jeeps. Some of them might even join farmers on tractors if required. They will also help in distribution of essential items like water and edibles if needed. Each tractor will have a group of four-five farmers on it,” he said.
The government’s negotiations with representatives of thousands of protesting farmers hit a roadblock on Friday as the unions squarely rejected the Centre’s proposal to put three contentious laws on hold.
Unlike the last 10 rounds of talks, the 11th round saw both the sides hardening their positions and could not even reach a decision on the next date for the meeting.
Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the “mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.