New Delhi, December 24
Braving harsh cold, thousands of agitating farmers at the Delhi borders on Thursday remained steadfast in their demands to repeal the Centre’s three new agri laws.
Dense fog reduced visibility to just 100 metres in parts of Delhi on Thursday, affecting traffic movement, the India Meteorological Department said, adding that the minimum temperature at the Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, settled at 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Security remained tight at the Delhi borders with hundreds of personnel deployed at Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri as thousands of farmers have been staging their protests at the borders for nearly a month now. This has also led to traffic congestion forcing police to divert vehicular movement.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the Delhi Traffic Police alerted commuters about the routes that remained closed owing to farmers’ agitation and suggested them to take alternative roads.
“The Chilla, Ghazipur borders are closed for traffic coming from Noida & Ghaziabad to Delhi because of farmer protests. People are advised to take alternative route for coming to Delhi via Anad Vihar, DND, Apsara, bhopra & Loni borders,” it said in a tweet.
In another tweet, police said Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari, Saboli and Mangesh borders are closed.
“Pl take alternative routes via Lampur, Safiabad, Palla & Singhu school toll tax borders. Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba & GTK road. Pl avoid Outer Ring Rd, GTK road & NH 44,” the traffic police mentioned.
On Wednesday, the protesting farmers hardened their position and asked the government not to repeat the proposal of “meaningless” amendments that they have already rejected but come up with a “concrete” offer in writing for the resumption of talks.
Reading out a reply to the government’s talks offer during a press conference, farmer leaders said they are ready for dialogue with an open mind if they get a concrete proposal, but made it clear they will not accept anything less than a complete repeal of the three agriculture laws and legal guarantee for the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The sixth round of talks on December 9 was cancelled following a deadlock with the farmer unions refusing to budge from their demand for repealing the three laws.
Enacted in September, the three farm laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of MSP and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government has repeatedly asserted that the MSP and mandi systems will stay and has accused the Opposition of misleading the farmers. PTI