New Delhi: Farmers’ protest in the national capital is in its third week now and there is no end in sight to the deadlock as Kisan Unions from Punjab and Haryana now threaten to intensify stir by blocking the Delhi-Jaipur highway. Thousands of protesting farmers have decided to take out a tractor morcha on the highway on Sunday, December 13, in an agitation against the Centre’s new farm laws. They have also called for a nationwide demonstration at all district offices on Monday where they will hold a hunger strike from 8 AM to 5 PM.Also Read - Agnipath Row: PM Will Have to Become ‘Maafiveer’, Says Rahul Gandhi on Nationwide Protests

The Delhi Police has already scaled up security with the deployment of personnel and placed more concrete barriers at various border points as soon as the farmers announced that they will intensify their protest, with plans to block the Delhi-Jaipur highway and the Yamuna Expressway. Also Read - Farmers Hold Protest in Maharashtra's Puntamba; Demand MSP, Electricity Fee-Waiver

Roads to Avoid Also Read - Punjab: Toll On Muktsar-Kotkapura Highway Made Tax-Free. Here's Why

Agitating farmers picketed highway toll plazas in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and claimed thousands more will soon arrive on Delhi’s borders to intensify their stir against the Centre’s new agriculture laws. They also complained that the Centre was not letting farmers enter the capital.

Farmer leaders asserted that major highways linking the national capital will be blocked from Sunday and they will sit on a hunger strike on December 14, when they have called for a nationwide protest.

Singhu, Auchandi, Piau Maniyari and Mangesh borders will also remain closed on Sunday and the traffic has been diverted from Mukarba and GTK Road. So, commuters have been advised to avoid Outer Ring Road, GTK Road and National Highway-44, the Delhi Traffic Police said.

The Tikri and the Dhansa borders are also closed for traffic movement but the Jhatikara border is open only for two-wheelers and pedestrian movement.

Meanwhile, farmers protesting at the Chilla border (Delhi-UP) border on Noida Link road have opened the barricades for traffic movement. “Our leader met the Defence Minister and Agriculture Minister today, we have been assured that our demands will be fulfilled so we have opened the road,” one of the farmers said.

Meeting With Centre

After five failed rounds of official meetings between the Kisan Unions and the Centre, leaders from a few organisations met with Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. While both the Centre and farmer unions have said that they are open to talks, the agitation continued on the 17th day with no sign of a solution.

Farmers are firm on their demand for a “written assurance” or even a law that guarantees the continuation of the MSP system.

PM’s Appeal

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again assured the protesting farmers that the three laws were aimed at giving them alternative markets to boost income and that the government was committed to their welfare.

“Farmers have now options to sell their crops in mandis as well as to outside parties…After the implementation of recent reforms, farmers will get new markets and new opportunities and they will get the help of technology. The country’s cold storage infrastructure will become modern,” he said in a fresh appeal.

Farmers Protest in Other States

Not just Delhi and Punjab but farmers also held demonstrations in several districts of Rajasthan, including Kota, Ganganagar, Bharatpur, Hanumangarh and Alwar.

In Uttar Pradesh too, dozens of farmers were detained in different parts of Aligarh for trying to occupy toll plazas. Similar incidents of protests trying to picket toll plaza were reported from other districts including Kaushambi.

In Haryana, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, whose party is an ally of the BJP in the state, said he would resign from his post if he is unable to secure the minimum support price (MSP) guarantee for farmers.

“The written proposals given by the Central government to the protesting farmers include a provision for MSPs. I will work to secure MSP for farmers as long as I am in power,” he said. He met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh later.

Road Ahead

“We are trying to call a meeting early. …We are discussing,” said Union Minister Som Prakash, who has been negotiating with the protesting farmers.

The last six rounds of talks between the Centre and 40 farmers’ union leaders have remained inconclusive, with one of them cancelled. The government had sent a draft proposal to the farmer leaders for consideration but they strictly declined it.

Spelling out their strategy to make the agitation even “bigger”, a farmer leader announced that their “mothers, sisters and daughters will also join them soon”, and that arrangements for their stay are being made at the protest sites.