What’s open, what’s shut; all it’s essential to know

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Thousands of farmers are watching a 12-hour Bharat Bandh today to step up their four-month agitation against the center’s three controversial farm laws passed last September. The band is called by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) who started at 6am on Friday and ends at 6pm the same day. The Bharat Band is likely to disrupt transportation services and escalate the traffic problem, particularly in the state capital, Delhi.

Samyukt Kisan Morcha called for a 12-hour “Bharat Bandh” today. Protesters block the road on the Singhu border pic.twitter.com/CIxfHmGZuF

– ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021

According to a statement released by the SKM, farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi for four months and instead of accepting their demands, the government is completely discrediting them.

Here is everything you need to know about Bharat Bandh:

1. Rail and road transport can be affected

Due to Bharat Bandh, rail and road transport services in parts of the country are likely to be affected as farmers unions have declared that all roads and trains, large and small, will be blocked.

Today several protesters in Amritsar, Punjab, blocked railroad tracks. In Ambala, protesters blocked GT Road and the railway line near Shahpur in view of Bharat Bandh, ANI news agency reported.

Punjab: Protesters block the railway line in Amritsar as a sign of protest against the three agricultural laws during the “Bharat Bandh” called by Samyukt Kisan Morcha pic.twitter.com/dAZgfXa3yw

– ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021

Ambala: Protesters block GT Road and railway line near Shahpur in light of Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s 12-hour “Bharat Bandh” appeal against the centre’s farm laws # Haryanapic.twitter.com / 1D6k4qjPlN

– ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021

2. Markets can remain closed in several parts of the country

The SKM has called for all shops, shopping centers, markets and institutions to be closed on the day of Bharat Bandh. All services remain suspended except for the ambulance and other essential services.

3. Farmers are not allowed to observe gangs in survey areas

The SKM leaders said in Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry that the farmers will not be watching Bharat Bandh.

4. The dealer organization in Delhi refuses to participate in Bandh

The Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a body representing traders in Delhi, said they support farmers’ demand, but shops and factories will remain open during Bharat Bandh. “We have spoken to business owners and traders about this. Most of them said they support the farmers’ demands and the center should find a solution to the problem,” said Subhash Khandelwal, chairman of CTI.

5. Odisha declares educational institutions to be closed

The Odisha government has announced the closure of all educational institutions across the state in anticipation of the nationwide Bharat Bandh.

6. Delhi traffic updates with regard to Bharat Bandh

The Delhi Traffic Police said the Ghazipur border NH-24 (both lanes) has been closed due to traffic movements. “Traffic Warning Traffic at the border with Ghazipur, NH-24 (both lanes), is closed. Please avoid the route. PRECAUTIONS: WEAR MASK, KEEP SOCIAL DISTANCE, KEEP HAND HYGIENE,” tweeted the Delhi traffic police. On Friday, farmers blocked the border with Ghazipur (the Delhi-UP border) to strengthen their movement against the centre’s three farm laws.

Protesters sit in 31 locations in Punjab and Haryana in the Delhi, Ambala and Firozepur divisions that affect rail traffic. Train traffic at 32 locations affected, 4 Shatabdi trains canceled: Indian Railways # BharatBandh

– ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021

7. Delhi Police security arrangements for Bharat Bandh

Delhi police said that adequate security precautions were in place in view of the “Bharat Bandh”. Delhi Police, PRO Chinmoy Biswal, said there would be intensive patrols to keep the peace in the state capital.

8. Why farmers called for Bharat Bandh

The farmers want to intensify their months of agitation and call on the center to repeal the three agricultural laws. They have also called for all police cases against farmers to be lifted, for the “electricity and pollution bills” to be withdrawn and for fuel prices to be cut.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November 26, demanding the complete repeal of the three farm laws and a legal guarantee of the minimum support price for their crops. So far, there have been eleven rounds of talks between the protesting unions and the government, but the deadlock continues as both sides hold on to their stands. In January the government offered to suspend agricultural laws for 12 to 18 months, which the farmers’ unions rejected.

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