Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Shops at Mall Road in Ludhiana announcing their support for the farmers protesting against the new farm laws. (Harsimar Pal Singh/HT)
The city is expected to see a complete shutdown on Tuesday as market associations, industry bodies and those in the hospitality sector have decided to suspend work for the day, in solidarity with farmers protesting against the new Central farm laws.
Though the farmers have given a call for Bharat Bandh from 11am to 3pm on Tuesday, markets, factories, hotels and restaurants are expected to remain closed throughout the day. However, events for which bookings have already been done at hotels and marriage palaces will go on as per schedule.
The representatives of these sectors said that though their businesses have been affected by the ongoing agitation, they have still decided to join in the protest as any jolt to the farming sector will ultimately result in losses for other sectors too.
Markets associations in the city that have announced to keep their shops shut include, Model Town, Ghumar Mandi, AC market, Pink Plaza in Chaura Bazar, Sarabha Nagar main market and Jawahar Nagar camp among others. The presidents of these associations said that they will stand by the farmers as they are fighting against the injustice meted out by the Centre. Among the industry bodies that have decided to join in the Bandh are Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO), Janta Nagar Small Scale Manufacturers Association (JNSSMA) and others.
FICO president Gurmeet Singh Kular said, “The industry will be hit due to the bandh but we will still support the farmers for the greater good.”
Punjab hotel and restaurant association president Amarvir Singh said, “All hotels and restaurants, except those that have prior bookings, will remain closed throughout the day.”
Strike at main vegetable market
The Bharat Bandh call might also hit the supply of vegetables and fruits in the city as ahrtiyas in the main vegetable market near Jalandhar bypass have announced to keep the market closed. President of the Ludhiana Sabzi Mandi Arhtiya Association Gurkamal Singh said, “The retail vendors in the vegetable market might work but arhtiyas have decided to keep the counters closed for the day.”
Trucks, tempo to remain off road:
With All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) extending support to the farmers, truckers in Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh announced that the transport vehicles, including trucks, tempo etc will remain off roads on Tuesday. A meeting of All India Motor Transport Congress was held on Monday wherein members decided that there will be a complete shutdown of activities from 10 am to 5pm. AIMTC chairman Charan Singh Lohara said, “If the union government fails to fulfill the demands of farmers in the meeting on December 9, we might also announce a shutdown for an indefinite period.”
MC offices to remain closed
The Municipal Employees Sangharsh committee also announced that no work will be done in MC offices on Tuesday. Only the sweepers and garbage collectors will work in the field from 6am to 9am. Chairman of the committee, Ashwani Sahota said, “No work will be done on Tuesday as the union has decided to stand with the farmers. Only sweepers will work in the field from 6am to 9am”
Opposition parties extend support
All the opposition parties, including Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have extended support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call against the BJP-led Union government’s new farm laws. The leaders of these parties say they will participate in farmer protests in different parts of the state.
PSEB-affiliated schools in Ludhiana to remain
Around 520 schools in the district affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will remain closed on Tuesday to support the farmers’ ‘Bharat Bandh’ call. At least 10 members of the joint action front, associated schools, Punjab, will also be joining the protesting farmers at the Delhi border. Apart from that 350 PSEB-affiliated private schools have also decided to not take any classes as a precautionary measure. Rajinder Sharma, president of PSEB affiliated schools, Punjab, said, “Some students of Classes 9 to 12 were attending classes physically. But due to the Bharat Bandh, we have decided to keep schools closed.” Principal of AVM Senior Secondary School, Anand Singh, said, “We took this decision to support farmers as a mark of gratitude. The safety of students and faculty members is also a priority.”
Govt schools put off December exams
The December examination of Class 9 and 11 in government schools scheduled to be held on December 8 have also been postponed. SCERT director Jagtar Kulria issued a letter late in evening, informing of the change. The NTSE scholastic aptitude test schedule to be held on Tuesday will be now conducted on December 9 at the same time.
PTU postpones intermediate semester exam
In view of Bandh, the intermediate semester examination at IK Gujral Punjab Technical University, scheduled for December 8 has been postponed. The new date of examination will be informed soon.
CA Foundation exam now on December 13
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India have rescheduled of the Chartered Accountants’ foundation exam- Paper 1 from December 8 to December 13. The paper will be conducted at the same venue and same time, on the new date.
2, 500 police personnel to keep vigil
In view of the Bharat Bandh call, security has been beefed up in the city to maintain the law and order situation. Joint commissioner of police (JCP, headquarters) J Elanchazhian said around 2,500 police personnel will be on the road along with all gazetted officers. Though the agitating union members have assured that the protests will be peaceful, the JCP said that special checkpoints will be installed at all major markets and roads to monitor the situation. He added that no one will be allowed to force shopkeepers, traders and businessmen to bring the shutters down.