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All you need to know about tomorrow’s “Bharat Bandh”

With the intention mounting up pressure on the Centre to repeal the contentious farm laws, the protesting farmers in Delhi had earlier declared a “Bharat Bandh” on December 8th, which has seen the support of many opposition parties across the country. Political parties including Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress, Sharad Pawar’s National Congress Party, KCR’s Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, J&K’s People’s Alliance and other are backing the farmers’ nationwide shutdown of tomorrow.

While the national capital is expected to be shut with only emergency services running, the farmers have called the “peaceful bandh” to be held from 11am to 3pm, so as to allow people to commute to their offices and workplaces as they said that the motive isn’t to cause problems to the common man but rather to urge the government to withdraw its new reforms.

Other states too are presumed to be affected as the respective ruling parties have expressed their support to the agitated farmers who are protesting since September.

Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, “The protest is to show that we don’t support some government policies.”

The farmers highlighted that they aren’t going to welcome any political party to get in their protest and create hullabaloo for their own benefit as the strike is going to be “peaceful and will continue that way”.

Nevertheless, the Central government has set out a list of rules and advisories to be followed tomorrow, including “tight security” for apparent “peace” along with the mandatory covid-19 guidelines.

  • On the Exams front:

The ICAI or Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has announced their rescheduled timetable and the Chartered Accountants Foundation Examination paper-1 is going to be on December 13th instead of December 8th. All admit cards are to be retained as they are still valid and need to be reproduced on the day of the exam. Students are advised to log on to the official website to receive updates on the same.

Examinations to be held from tomorrow under the jurisdiction of Osmania University, Hyderabad are also postponed until further notice. Meanwhile, those scheduled to start from December 9th do not have any changes and will be conducted according to the timetable.

  • Daily commodities:

As Delhi is the epicentre of the ongoing protests, it is expected to be affected the most. There could be a shortage of fruits and vegetables with many sellers closing their business for the day in view of the protest. Adil Ahmed Khan, Chairman of the Azadpur Mandi – Asia’s largest wholesale market said, “Most of our traders are supporting the Bharat Bandh call. Hence, mandis at Ghazipur, Okhla and Narela will be heavily impacted.”

A similar scenario could be seen in Maharashtra where the Vashi Agricultural Produce Market Committee is going to be shut tomorrow. The closure will impact the availability of fruits and vegetables in the capital, Mumbai.

  • Transportation:

Delhi and Tamil Nadu will witness the majority of the hurdles as cab and taxi associations, including app-based commute providers, are supporting the farmers and decided to align with the shutdown. However, autos and commutation services providing last-mile connectivity will function normally. The Delhi government has stated that necessary arrangements have got done to make sure citizens do not face trouble while travelling.

In Mumbai, taxis, cabs and buses will work as usual, although police patrolling will be levelled up “so that no untoward incident takes place”.

  • Banking services:

Many bank unions have also joined hands, calling for a black-band protest to show their solidarity to the farmers. However, the backing is not expected to hit the banking arena and people are likely to be able to continue their bank-related work.

  • Logistics:

Truck and lorry movements could be affected as these supply chain providers have voiced their support to the farmers in Delhi. Several states are likely to be witnessing this as all motor transport unions in the country are backing it. These unions are going to conduct peaceful rallies and make attempts to give a memorandum to District Collectors and Commissioners to help the farmers by requesting the authorities to solve the problems “amicably and to farmers’ satisfaction at the earliest”.

  • Roads shut and other blockades:

As iterated earlier by the General Secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, members belonging to the farmers’ unions will sit near the national highways and toll plazas to block them.

A number of states have given their support to the farmers including Telangana, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam and Tripura, because of which, there are expected to be some traffic congestions in places where people organize sit-up protests, though it is going to be in full swing in Punjab that has given its complete support to the farmers. Gujarat, on the other hand, has strongly opposed the protest and directed strict orders on those who try to “close shops and establishments forcefully”.

Giving a list of alternate routes to resort to, the Delhi Traffic Police posted a tweet saying, “Avoid Outer Ring Rd, GT Karnal road” as borders of Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh will be closed. National Highway-44 is closed from both sides while the Chilla border on Noida link road is shut from Noida-Delhi. Meanwhile, the Gazipur border on NH-24 is shut for regular traffic from Gaziabad-Delhi.

While expressing their gratitude to those supporting them, the farmers have requested everyone to show their support non-violently as tomorrow’s protest isn’t intended to “cause problems for the common man”.

“Tomorrow’s Bharat Bandh is from 11 am to 3 pm. It is a symbolic protest. We will begin at 11 am so everyone can reach office on time… Services such as ambulance, even weddings, can go on. People can show their card and leave,” Bharatiya Kisan Union Spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said.