The Supreme Court on Monday, while hearing a plea seeking directions to clear the roads, which were blocked due to the farmers’ protest, said the solution lies in the hands of the Centre and the concerned state governments, and that the roads should not be blocked for any reason whatsoever.
A two-judge Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy was informed by the state of Uttar Pradesh that continuous efforts were being made to remove the blockade. Farmers were being explained to remove the illegally imposed barriers at the protest site, but most of the ryots present at the protest site are elderly.
During the hearing, the bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “What is happening? You have to find a solution, they might have right to a place to agitate, but the roads cannot be blocked like this.”
To which SG Mehta replied, “We’ll look into this.”
The bench allowed time to the Solicitor General till September 20, the next date of hearing, to look for solutions on this and come back.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by one Monicca Aggrawal, resident of Noida, seeking direction to ensure that the road connecting Delhi and Noida be kept clear, to keep the passage between the two cities hassle-free.
The Uttar Pradesh government has filed a Status Report in the Supreme Court on the issue of removal of road blockade due to the farmers’ agitation on the Delhi-UP border.
The report was filed on Sunday by Rajendra Pratap Singh, Special Secretary, Department of Home, Civil Secretariat, State of UP through Advocate Kamlendra Mishra.
In the report, the state government said continuous efforts were being made to remove the blockade. Farmers were being explained to remove the illegally imposed barriers at the protest site, but most of the farmers present at the protest site were elderly.
“There are at present about 141 tents and 31 langars around the area, and the protestors have installed a platform on the flyover, from where the leaders give speeches. A media house has also been made below the flyover. At present, there are about 800-1000 protestors in the area, however, a crowd of up to 15,000 protestors collect on their call within hours from adjoining towns and villages,” read the affidavit.
The state government authorities in Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida) convinced the farmer’s unions to end the agitation from Chilla border. Following that, the traffic movement was made free from obstruction on January 27, 2021. However, traffic has been diverted from the ‘blocked’ NH-24/9 (Delhi-Ghaziabad) to ensure smooth traffic movement.
According to the report, alternate routes have been made as temporary arrangements for the convenience of commuters from Ghaziabad, Hindon and Maharajpur borders to Delhi due to the farmers’ agitation.
The UP government further stated that state administrative officials and Police officials have approached the protesting farmers and made “tireless efforts to make them understand their grossly illegal act of blocking public roads was causing grave inconvenience to the travellers.”
The state government filed the report on a PIL filed in the apex court by a resident of Noida, seeking removal of road-blocks created by the protesting farmers. The petitioner said it takes two hours instead of 20 minutes to travel. And being a single mother attached with the fact that she has some medical issues as well, it becomes a nightmare for her to travel. The petitioner also pointed out that various directions have been passed by the Court to keep the roads clear, but it did not happen. The only remedy available with common citizens like her to get rid of these so called ‘Andolankaris’ (protesters) was knocking the doors of this highest court of the land by way of petition.
The Supreme Court will hear the PIL on Monday. The farmers began their protests in August, 2020 against the three new agriculture laws passed by Parliament in September last year.