All roads directed to Delhi for a long march of tractor trolleys rolling bumper to bumper from numerous locations in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan on Sunday, lending impetus to the intended Republic Day farmers’ rally in the national capital in more paths than one. There were tractors on the NH-44 between Haryana’s Ambala and Sonipat as far as the eye could wander.
Songs of uprising sung by famous Punjab singers blared from speakers as flags of farmers’ unions trembled on top of the tractors steered for the Singhu-Kundli and Tikri borders. Unlike November 26 and 27, when Haryana police had lodged blockades at several areas to halt the rise of farmers moving towards Delhi. On Sunday, the police’s function was constrained to overseeing traffic at blockages established by caravans of tractors.
“In a bid to ensure smooth passage, we had started from Jalandhar around midnight on Saturday. To our surprise, there were still a lot of vehicles,’’ said Zorawar Singh, who was at the wheel of a tractor holding up 15 people from his village in Punjab’s Jalandhar. Some farmers affixed three to five tractors or trolleys to save on fuel. In some places, modified jeeps could be discerned on trolleys tethered to the tractor in front.
“When we all have to reach the same destination, why not have one tractor pull the rest? We are doing this by turn. It’s quite cost-effective,” said Harbhajan Singh, a young farmer from Punjab. There was barely any space on the road for vehicles to move beyond Murthal in Sonipat, persuading the police to draw away traffic bound for other states much ahead.
From Jind alone, 6,000 tractors, more than 500 of them overseen by women farmers, entered the Tikri border on Sunday. Nearly 5,000 farmers going towards Jaisinghpur Khera brought along payloaders to wipe out any blockade put up by the police.
Tek Ram Kandela, president of the Kandela khap, said, “Around 2,000 tractors left from our khap and thousands more from other khaps of the district.”
Around 1,500 tractors from Rajasthan will moreover merge in the farmers’ rally in Delhi. Over 50,000 farmers from MP have already caught up with Delhi to participate in the January 26 rally, said Bharatiya Kisan Union state chief Anil Yadav.