New Delhi, December 8
Early inputs from across the country showed mixed response to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by the farmer unions on Tuesday as no major disturbance has been reported from anywhere.
The shutdown — from 11 am to 3 pm — focuses primarily on “chakka jam” (no vehicular movement). However, its effect on the movement of vehicles is yet to be observed.
The call was, however, supported by various Opposition political parties. The morning peak-hour traffic movement was by and large normal across the country except in a few states.
Partial ‘Bharat Bandh’ impact was seen in vegetable ‘mandis’ in the national capital and various other states but commercial establishments, particularly in cities and towns, are not likely to be affected as the retailers’ organisations have kept off the shutdown.
There was some impact of the ‘bandh’ call in interstate bus services and the passengers reached railway stations a bit early in the wake of the nationwide protest.
State and city borders were open, and public vehicles like auto-rickshaws, taxis, aggregator cabs, a few heavy vehicles carrying essential items were witnessed moving on roads.
Wholesale markets, retail vegetable markets and local vendors were functioning partially in many states.
Cold response was seen in Tamil Nadu while there was growing solidarity for the farmers’ cause in Odisha and Telangana. In Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party workers stopped Bundelkhand Express at Prayagraj, leading to a scuffle with the police as Samajwadi Party workers squatted on the railway track. Very few vehicles were seen on roads in Bihar in the morning as the Mahagathbandhan led by Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav is spearheading the support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’.
Delhi: The nationwide shutdown called by farmers over the newly passed three farm laws by the Central government received a mixed response in the national capital with most of the businesses and transport services remaining normal in the national capital.
A heavy police deployment was made at the wholesale vegetable and grain market to prevent pro-Bandh activists from forcing closure of shops.
At Azadpur Mandi, the response was lukewarm.
Some shops opened while others anticipated less merchandise reaching the wholesale bazaar. Ghazipur and Okhla Mandi also witnessed mixed response, leading up to the shutdown called for four hours with very few people arriving at these mandis.
The usually crowded Ghazipur vegetable market also wore a deserted look as not many shops were open.
The farmers continued to block the Delhi-Meerut National Highway-24 near Ghazipur as large contingents of the police and the paramilitary force guarded all borders around the national capital.
However, in the city, life seemed to be normal with vehicles plying and roadside shops doing business as usual. E-rickshaws also continued to ply.
Officials at Sarai Kale Khan inter-state bus terminus told IANS that the buses are running as usual and no hindrance has been reported so far. They also said that the service would continue despite the call of ‘chakka jam’ between 11 am and 3 pm.
The bus terminus, though, wore a deserted look compared to other days. Employees here said that the situation is normal and it is how it has been amid the Covid outbreak.
Traffic was normal at Karnal bypass, the road that leads to Delhi-Haryana’s Singhu border, where the farmers have been protesting for the last 13 days against the new agricultural laws of the Central government.
In the wake of Bharat Bandh, many passengers who wanted to travel to Chandigarh were seen waiting for vehicles on the Karnal highway.
Maharashtra: A mixed response was observed in the morning, especially in the urban areas. While all APMCs across the state were deserted in the morning, shops and commercial establishments were open.
The traffic movement in major cities like Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and Kolhapur was normal, though farmer organisation Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana has announced road and rail blockades later.
Wholesale markets remained shut.
The ‘Bharat Bandh’ is supported by the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, most Dalit parties, the CPI, CPI-M and other Left parties, several student organisations and students of major academic institutions, Trade Unions Joint Action Committee comprising scores of trade unions, including all bank unions in the state, besides many other big and small groups with employees in the trade and commerce sectors.
Asserting that it’s “not a political bandh”, the Shiv Sena has appealed to all people to participate voluntarily in support of the farmers across the country who are demanding a repeal of the three new central farm laws.
Bihar: Very few vehicles were seen on roads in state capital Patna on Tuesday morning as the Mahagathbandhan led by Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav is spearheading the support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ here.
The RJD has appealed to his supporters to come out on the streets and support the farmers’ protesting against the three central farm laws.
The farmers’ agitation is expected to be successful across the state, especially in Maoist-hit district like Arwal, Jahanabad, Aurangabad, Kaimur, Lakhisarai, Jamui and Begusarai.
These districts are dominated by the Left parties, especially CPI-MLL along with north Bihar districts like Vaishali, Chapra, Siwan, Gopalganj, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Madhepura, Samastipur, Madhubani, Seetamarhi and Supaul which are RJD strongholds.
The shutdown is also expected to be successful in Seemanchal districts like Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar.
Most people in Patna preferred to stay indoors, stepping out only for important chores.
Uttar Pradesh: A mixed response was also witnessed in the state in the early hours while the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has said they will hold demonstrations at 65 points in Lucknow on Tuesday afternoon in support of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call.
Most of the places are the entry points to the state capital. They include Dewa Sharief, IIM road, Dubagga, Shaheed Path, Gosainganj, Mohanlalganj, Rahimabad, Bakshi Ka Talab, Nigoha, Behta and Vrindavan scheme.
Hyderabad: Buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation in Telangana went off road amid growing support for farmers groups-called Bharat Bandh that received support from all parties in the state except the BJP.
With employee unions of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) backing the shutdown call, buses were confined to depots.
Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station and Jubilee Bus Station, two of the biggest and busiest bus stations in Hyderabad, wore a deserted look. Some commuters who reached the bus stations early in the morning to board buses to their destinations were seen returning disappointed.
Most of the cabs and auto-rickshaws also went off the roads as the unions of taxi and auto drivers backed the Bharat Bandh in support of the demand by farmers’ groups asking for rollback of the new farm legislations by the Central government.
With the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) declaring total support to the bandh, it is likely to evoke good response across the state.
Opposition Congress, Left and other parties, farmers’ and people’s organisations and trade unions are also backing the protest.
Ministers, MPs, state legislators and other public representatives will be participating in protests across the state. Chief Minister and TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao has appealed to party cadres to make the bandh a total success.
West Bengal: The ‘Bharat Bandh’ called received partial response in West Bengal too with protesters burning the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some business honchos on road here.
The protesters staged a road blockade near Lake Town and Bangur virtually choking the key arterial stretch that connects Shyambazar through Dum Dum. West Bengal’s Left Front-backed organisations also gathered at Kolkata’s Jadavpur 8-B bus stand area supporting the shutdown call on Tuesday. They will take out a rally extending support to the shutdown call.
Tram and bus services were also disrupted in Kolkata’s College Street area as agitators staged protests on Tuesday morning. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) youth arm members also demonstrated at Esplanade area in support of the shutdown.
West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has extended “moral support” to the nationwide strike and in solidarity will stage sit-ins in various parts of the state for the next three days.
Odisha: Roads wore a deserted look in several parts of Odisha as the farmers supported by different political parties and trade unions on Tuesday began holding protests as part of Bharat Bandh against new farm laws enacted by the Centre.
Public transportation services were affected as the protesters held picketing at the railway stations and bus stops in Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Rayagada, and several other places.
Vehicular movement on many routes was disrupted with agitators blocking them by burning tyres.
The farmers and political activists also resorted to “rail roko”, affecting the train movement in the state.
Tamil Nadu: Normal life was not affected here and in other parts of Tamil Nadu on Tuesday with state transport buses plying, hotels and shops remaining open despite the Bharat Bandh call given by farmers and supported by opposition parties.
Similarly, government-owned banks and insurance companies will be working as usual though the unions have extended support to the farmer’s bandh call. Opposition parties-affiliated auto-rickshaw unions have announced that they would be participating in the shutdown. IANS