Thousands of farmers protesting on Delhi’s borders demanding repeal of three contentious farm laws will carry out a tractor march on Thursday, converging on the eastern and western peripheral expressways that form a ring around Delhi.
However, they will not enter Delhi, farm leaders said on Wednesday.
“This will be a dress rehearsal for the tractor parade by farmers on Republic Day in the national capital,” said Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India who is among the coordinators of the protest.
Farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at several Delhi border points since November 28, demanding repeal of the laws, and a legal guarantee on minimum support prices for their crops, among other issues.
The farmers announced last week that if their demands were not met, they will march in their tractors at Rajpath on Republic Day, where India’s annual military parade and cultural programme is held on January 26.
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, general secretary of Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, said hundreds of tractors will march on Thursday from Singhu and Tikri borders to the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal or Western Expressway.
“Hundreds of tractors from both the protest points will leave around 11am and drive towards KMP Expressway. From there, we will return to our camps,” said Sandhu.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson, Rakesh Tikait said the tractor march will not enter Delhi, and culminate at the respective borders after travelling up to Dasna and Palwal.
Unlike the other BKU groups, the farmers associated with BKU’s Bhanu group that has been protesting at the Chilla (Delhi-Noida link road) border will carry out a tractor march from Mahamaya flyover up to Chilla border.
Shalini Singh, joint commissioner of police (western range), said that since the march is not scheduled to enter Delhi, the police arrangement would remain like before. But traffic on the outskirts is likely to be affected.
Police in Gautam Buddh Nagar said they will enforce diversions on the Kundli-Ghaziabad-Palwal or Eastern Peripheral Expressway. “In view of this, vehicles will not be allowed to get on the eastern peripheral expressway from Beel Akbarpur and Sirsa cut towards Palwal from 12pm to 3pm. Similarly, vehicles won’t be allowed on the expressway from Sirsa cut and Beel Akbarpur towards Sonipat from 2pm to 5pm and will be diverted,” police said in a statement.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials also said the tractor march will affect traffic on both eastern and western peripheral expressways.