Protesting Farmers Spread Free Movement In Haryana Indefinitely
Farmers’ organizations in Haryana have decided to force the opening of toll plazas in the state for an indefinite period to guarantee free transportation for all who pass. The decision has been made to further intensify the protests against the three agricultural laws.
Earlier, the leaders of the farmers’ union had said that the toll plazas will remain open for three days from December 25 to 27. But at a late-night meeting on Saturday, farmers’ leaders said they will not allow toll companies to charge travelers until the Union government accepts their demands.
“We have met with several farmers and representatives of farmers’ unions and it was decided that toll plazas will not be able to charge travelers indefinitely,” said Bhartiya Kisan Union State President Gurnam Singh Charuni.
He said that farmers will continue their protests in all the state’s toll plazas until the farmers’ protests on the Delhi borders end.
On the morning of December 25, protesting farmers gathered at the toll plazas, forcing the employees who collect the toll to leave. Barricades were removed from the toll gates that allowed the free movement of motorists.
Even women and children joined the protests at the Kitlana toll plaza in Dadri, while farmers parked their roadside tractors and sat in a dharna near the Makrauli toll plaza on the highway. Rohtak-Chandigarh and at the Madina toll plaza on the Rohtak-Hisar highway.
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Farmers also took over the Bastara toll plaza in Karnal on the NH-44, which connects Delhi with several northern states. They also took control of the Gullarpur toll plaza on the Assandh-Karnal road, the Thana toll plaza at Pehowa de Kurukshetra on the Hisar-Chandigarh road, the Panipat toll plaza on the NH-44 and the Dahar toll on the Panipat-Rohtak highway.
Meanwhile, farmers from Haryana and Punjab continued their sit-in at the Shambhu toll plaza near Ambala in Delhi-Amritsar NH-44 for the second day.
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The Bastara toll plaza concessionaire on National Highway 44 near Karnal is likely to suffer a loss of around Rs 1.20 million per day due to the free movement of forced vehicles on the toll plaza.
Officials at the toll plaza said that daily pick-up in Bastara is around Rs 1.20 to Rs 1.30 crore, as between 40,000 and 50,000 vehicles cross the toll plaza every day.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the losses suffered by the toll companies will ultimately be borne by the public, as the concessionaires’ contracts will be extended to cover the days when they could not collect tolls, as stated mentioned categorically in their contracts.
“The opening of toll plazas will not cause any loss to the government or toll companies and will not benefit anyone,” he added.