Noida/Delhi: Thousands of farmers from around 100 villages of Noida and Greater Noida on Thursday took to the streets seeking hiked compensation for lands acquired by the government, bringing traffic to a standstill in several parts of Delhi-NCR as they made an unsuccessful bid to march towards Parliament.
The farmers have decided to continue their protest outside the offices of the Noida and Greater Noida authorities in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district. Their decision came after a meeting with police and the district administration, which, they said, did not yield any outcome.
"The Parliament session ends this weekend and if we get no resolution to our issues in the next meeting, we will attempt a Delhi march once again," a Bharatiya Kisan Parishad (BKP) member told PTI on Thursday night.
Earlier in the day, barricades were set up at the Chilla border with Noida Police on one side and the Delhi Police on the other side to prevent protesters, who started their march from the Mahamaya Flyover in Noida around 12 pm, from entering the national capital.
Several police personnel were in anti-riot gears equipped with tear gas shells and water cannons, even as personnel from the Rapid Action Force and Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary were deployed at the Chilla border, officials said.
Thousands of villagers, including women and the elderly, joined the march, to press for their demands for hiked compensation and developed plots in lieu of their land acquired by local development authorities in Noida and Greater Noida in the past.
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait joined the protesters in Greater Noida in the afternoon where his Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) members have been protesting outside the local authority office.
In Noida, the protesters were led by the BKP, whose activists have been holding camps outside the local authority office since December 2023.
The farmers from around 100 villages were led by the BKP after they assembled at the Mahamaya Flyover in Noida around 12 pm on Thursday, with a proposed plan to march towards the Parliament.
Later, a scuffle broke out between several villagers and security personnel as they tried to detain local farmer leaders, including BKP leader Sukhbir Yadav 'Khalifa', near the Dalit Prerna Sthal.
In the night, a meeting among government officials, police and a delegation of protesting farmers was organised in Noida.
A BKP member told PTI that the farmers' delegation comprising 20 members led by BKP leader Sukhbir Yadav 'Khalifa' attended the meeting with senior police officers and District Magistrate Manish Verma.
"The meeting did not have any outcome as such because representatives of local authorities and Uttar Pradesh government were not there. Only the police commissioner, two joint commissioners and the district magistrate were there," the BKP member said.
"The police as such have no role in this issue. However, it has been decided that a meeting would once again be held with mediation by the police commissioner. The date for it is yet to be decided," he said.
The protest by farmers would continue outside the offices of the Noida Authority, the Greater Noida Authority and the NTPC, he told PTI after the meeting, which started around 9 pm and ended around 11 pm.
In Greater Noida, BKU leader Tikait called for a 'Bharat Bandh' on February 16 citing a host of issues impacting farmers, youth, daily wagers, among others.
"All sections of society should come together and work towards making the Bharat Bandh on 16th February a success for their pending demands," Tikait said in a post in Hindi on X.
The protest march also slowed down movement of vehicular traffic at various routes, including the key stretches of Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and DND Flyway and also had a ripple effect in Delhi.
Motorists spent hours in the crawling traffic at the Delhi-Noida link road near Mayur Vihar in Delhi, as police personnel with heavy equipment were on alert to deal with any eventuality in case protesting farmers reached there.
At the border, heavy duty bulldozers, backhoe machines, riot control vehicles and water cannons were parked strategically, officials said.
According to the Delhi Traffic Police, heavy traffic was also witnessed at DND, Chilla, and Ghazipur borders. At Sarita Vihar in south Delhi, several vehicles going towards Noida through Kalindi Kunj were stuck in the jam, the officials said.
The police also issued a traffic advisory, cautioning the commuters against diversions on some routes in the twin cities in view of the farmers' movement on tractors.
Between 12 pm and 5 pm, heavy traffic jams were witnessed on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, DND loop, Kanlindi Kunj bridge, around Dalit Prerna Sthal, Atta Chowk and Rajnigandha Chowk in Noida.
Similar snarls were witnessed at Pari Chowk in Greater Noida, with the police saying that they were making efforts to ensure smooth traffic movement.
Ahead of the protest by the farmers in Noida and Greater Noida, the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police had imposed CrPC Section 144 for Wednesday and Thursday.