Tolls freed! Government bows down to farmers’ strength.

Opening tolls with such gusto that evening police did not dare defy them, farmers allow vehicles to travel freely towards Delhi


Haryana farmers have wholeheartedly responded to call for freeing toll plazas, over-powering toll staff and opening points from December 11 night. Dubbed the Toll Free Movement, farmers not only in Punjab but various parts of India also held protests outside toll plazas denouncing the farm laws passed by the central government.

Adhering to calls by farmers’ leaders to open all highway tolls leading to Delhi, farmers’ organisations headed towards the Delhi-Chandigarh national highway 44 (NH44) checkpoints at Bastara in Karnal district and at Panipat district. They also laid siege to the Kaithal toll along Hisar-Chandigarh national highway (NH 152), Milk-Majra toll plaza on Panchkula-Saharanpur highway in Yamunanagar district and Gullarpur toll plaza on Assandh-Karnal highway.

Concerned district administrations imposed section 144 that prohibits an assembly of four or more people. But it was blatantly ignored by police officials who did not stop farmers from opening highways. Toll personnel also did not attempt to stop protesters who resolved to keep the road open for the next 24 hours.

Later, farmers’ unions headed towards Rohtak-Makdoli toll plaza where farmer leaders talked about the threat posed by the three anti-farmer-dubbed laws – the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance & Farm Services Act, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment).

Farmers leader said that although police had been ordered to restrain farmers, officials cooperated with them nonetheless.

“The government should realise farmers’ powers by now. Around 70 percent of India’s population engages in farming. These three laws will only benefit corporations while we will die. Consumers will also suffer. This is a national movement not just a farmers’ movement,” said a leader.

The full speech of the farmers’ leader may be viewed here:

Protesters took over the toll around 7 AM following which all vehicles have been allowed to head towards Delhi without spending toll prices.

Farmers laid a similar siege at the toll plaza in Jhajjar district.

As the day went on, protests also broke out along other tolls in the country. Farmers’ organisations agitated along state borders of Jharkhand and Odisha.

Expressing solidarity, farmers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh held protests in front of toll plazas.

Farmers’ leaders at various parts of these protests stated that farmers will not relent unless farm laws are passed.


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