Farmers protest: Local shopkeepers at Tikri-Singhu borders fear losses

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Barricades being put up at Ghazipur border in view of farmers' 'Delhi Chalo March', in New Delhi, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

Barricades being put up at Ghazipur border in view of farmers' 'Delhi Chalo March', in New Delhi, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

New Delhi: Looking anxiously as the police set up a five-layer barricade near the Tikri Border metro station, Krushna Kumar wondered if he would have to shut shop again like three years ago when the agitation against the farm laws hit life in the area.


The fear of financial losses and other hardships has returned to haunt locals and shopkeepers like Kumar in Delhi's border areas ahead of the farmers' protest march to the national capital on Tuesday.

"During any protest, we face a huge loss," the 35-year-old who runs a grocery shop said.

Kumar said that his regular customers are the labourers working nearby but due to security measures and other restrictions, the main road becomes inaccessible to them.


"Most of the labourers working in the nearby area are our daily customers and the only source of income. During any protest, the police stop the workers from using the main road and we lose our customers," Kumar told PTI.

Another shopkeeper Sayyam said that during the last farmers' protest, he faced a lot of difficulty while going to his shop.

"My grocery shop is located just 100 metres away from Tikri Border Metro Station, but due to heavy security force deployment, I had to take another way to reach my shop for which I had to walk almost two kilometres," he said.


Similarly, near Singhu Border, Dinkar, who runs a grocery shop, said, "If the protest continues for one or two days, we won't be significantly affected, but if it lasts like the previous one, then the government must tell us where we should go and protest for our problems.

"Police stop us from going to our shops and our work comes to a halt. We also have families and children to look after." However, hawkers who frequent these areas are hoping that their sales will increase.

Santosh, who cooks noodles in the Tikri area, said, "During normal days, we are hardly able to earn Rs 200 to 300. But during such protests when people can't move around much, my sales go up as more people purchase food from us." Daily commuters between Delhi and Bahadurgarh and Rohtak or those coming from the north part of Haryana, faced massive traffic jams after police put five layers of barricades on the highway.


"I was going to ISBT Kashmere Gate to catch a bus for Chandigarh. I had been waiting for more than three hours near the Tikri border. Later, I decided to go by Metro," a commuter who identified herself as Kirti said.

An auto driver said he could not get any passengers since morning due to the restrictions.

"We drive daily to earn a living. Those who are walking are not taking our auto-rickshaw because the traffic is moving at a snail's pace," auto-rickshaw driver Tej Kumar said.


Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC have been imposed for 30 days till March 12 in the national capital in view of the 'Delhi Chalo March' called by farmer outfits. More than 5,000 security personnel have been deployed along the border with other states.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made at the Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri borders, the sites of the 2020-21 sit-in by farmer outfits against the three now-repealed central agri laws.

Multiple-layer security barricading with concrete blocks, spike barriers, barbed wires and containers has been put on roads to stop the protesting farmers from entering the national capital.

The Delhi Chalo March has been called by around 200 farmers' unions, and a large number of protesters are expected to move towards the national capital on February 13 from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and others have called the protest to press the Centre to accept their demands, including the enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for crops.