Long queues of vehicles was a common site on highways around the tricity as farmer unions blocked them during a three-hour chakka jam against the contentious agriculture laws on Saturday.
The protests largely remained peaceful, and successful as the farmers did not allow movement of vehicles in Mohali district, leaving many people with no option but to walk back to their destination holding their luggage.
Buses, trucks and private vehicles lined up on the Chandigarh-Delhi and Chandigarh-Patiala highway, as farmers had blocked the traffic using tractors, two-wheelers and other vehicles at the Dappar toll plaza and Banur toll plaza besides McDonald’s Chowk and Chhat light point in Zirakpur. Hundreds of farmers also gathered at the Chandimandir toll plaza and Barwala toll plaza in Panchkula, bringing to a halt vehicles moving from and towards Shimla and Yamunanagar.
The chakka jam that started at 12 noon was finally lifted at 3pm, with farmers blowing horns of their vehicles for a minute, signalling the clearing of national and state highways.
Chandigarh borders sealed
Chandigarh Police had barricaded all entry points. Traffic moved within the city without much disruptions, though protests were held by resident groups at the Hallomajra light point, Matka chowk and other intersections.
“I had to go to the PGIMER, but no vehicle was allowed beyond the Mullanpur barrier. I had to walk for about five kilometers as no local transport was available.Some farmers protesting at the site did offer to help me cross the barrier,” said Sikander Sharma, a resident of Nalagarh who was on his way to the PGIMER to see a relative.
“I had a job interview and was returning home. The bus was stopped at the McDonald’s light point (in Zirakpur), so I decided to walk home,” said Rudraksh, a resident of Sector 21, Panchkula.
“We allowed ambulances to pass, but no other vehicle movement was allowed for three hours,” said Jasbir Singh, a resident of Rani Majra village in Mullanpur, who was among the protesters at the Mullanpur barrier.
After the chakka jam was lifted and commuters rushed to their destinations, massive traffic snarls were witnessed at both the Zirapur-Chandigarh barrier and Mullanpur barrier. It took about another hour for traffic flow to smoothen.
Satish Kumar, assistant commissioner of police, traffic, Panchkula, said: “Around 300 farmers had blocked the two toll plazas in the district. Additional manpower was stationed to divert the traffic to alternative routes. We also had additional force in case of any emergency.”