With farmers set to vacate the protest sites at Delhi’s borders, commuters will heave a huge sigh of relief as roads closed for over a year will reopen, ending their traffic woes.
After farmers agitating against the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws occupied the three border points, Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, in November last year, those travelling from Delhi to Ghaziabad, Noida and Haryana and vice versa had a tough time due to road closures and traffic diversions.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, on Thursday decided to suspend the movement against the farm laws and announced that farmers will go back home on December 11 from the protest sites on Delhi’s borders.
The announcement came after the SKM, which is spearheading the movement, received a central government signed letter wherein it agreed to consider farmers’ pending demands, including the withdrawal of cases against farmers and to form a committee on minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
“After the government’s announcement of the repeal of the three farm laws, I had thought that the farmers would end their protest but they continued it. Their announcement today will bring a huge relief to many commuters like me who have been facing severe issues,” said Suman Rathore, a regular commuter to Rewari in Haryana.
Neeti Rastogi, a resident of Noida extension who travels to Lutyens’ Delhi for work, said, “I used to take the Delhi-Meerut expressway to reach my office before the protests began. After the protesters occupied the border, I started taking the metro to reach my office, which meant a longer commuting time, more hassle and the fear of contracting coronavirus.” Viplav Tripathi, also a regular commuter to Delhi from Noida, used to take his car to office every day. Due to road closures, his commuting time was extended by 45 minutes.
“Using the Noida-Meerut expressway, I can reach my office in an hour but passing through Noida and the early morning traffic meant a longer commute to my office,” he said.
Commuters said the traffic police issued advisories suggesting alternative routes whenever farmers had any events planned and that further added to their difficulties.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, started protesting at Delhi’s border points on November 26 last year against the three farm laws. The laws have been repealed, but they are demanding that their remaining demands also be fulfilled.