New Delhi: There’s more to the Ghazipur border than meets the eye, which has been closed for over ten months owing to farmers’ protests against the three agro laws. While commuters and businesses across Delhi-NCR have allegedly been hampered by traffic issues, as a result of the border shut down, their reactions to the matter have been divided.
On Friday, the Supreme Court told a farmers’ group that civilians had the same freedom to move freely as farmers and that there was no purpose in prolonging the demonstration because the farm regulations had been challenged in court.
Hira Singh, a Vinod Nagar Uber driver, stated, “I mostly transport people from Noida. I have to pass the Ghazipur border to get from Noida Sector 62 to Delhi. Due to the roadblock on one side of NH-9, the route that used to take 15 minutes now takes more than an hour, especially during high traffic hours.”
Apart from the UP-Delhi carriageway of NH-9, police have also closed the entire road between Murga Mandi and Khoda beneath the flyover. As a result, commuters from Delhi who want to get to Kaushambi or Vaishali must take a detour and enter Ghaziabad from the EDM side via the Anand Vihar ISBT. Furthermore, due to the blockade on the other side, people approaching from Indirapuram must travel to the Ghazipur waste site before rejoining the highway near the Murga Mandi.
When asked why the route was sealed, Uttar Pradesh Police replied it was needed to redirect traffic. “Since the farmers have stopped the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi lane of the highway, the path under the flyover has been blocked for traffic diversion,” said Constable D Chauhan, who was stationed at the scene.
Wilson Singh, a Dwarka-based engineer who commutes to Noida for work, said, “Since the protests began over ten months ago, I’ve avoided NH-9. I now access Noida via the DND Flyway since it is more convenient. The traffic detour at Khora from under the Ghazipur flyover extends the trip by half an hour. The traffic jam would have been substantially reduced if the Khoda-Murga Mandi barricade had been removed.”
Fruit vendors at a vegetable and fruit mandi near the border have expressed their displeasure with the gridlock. Due to the traffic diversions, Mohammad Sakir, who has been selling fruits near the mandi for the past 28 years, has experienced a significant drop in consumer footfall in the previous ten months.
“Humara dhandha aadha ho gaya hai. Supply bhi der se aata hai, kyunki sabke liye rasta band ho gaya hai. (Our company has lost 50% of its revenue.) Since the highway has been closed to all traffic, even products are brought late)” Sakir, stated irritatedly.
However, Mohammad Khalil, a trader with a roadside stand near the mandi, said, “We get our goods late at night, so traffic isn’t an issue for trucks arriving at that time. I don’t have much difficulty getting to the mandi because I can walk there. For me, it’s business as usual.”
Several shops in the border colonies backed up Khalil’s claim that supplies were being delivered at the same time.
According to Tarandeep Singh, who operates a hardware store in Lakshmi Nagar, “Why are we blaming farmers for roadblocks and traffic congestion? Why aren’t we paying attention to the numerous police barriers and waterlogging? Because trucks move at night, goods are delivered on schedule. I have not heard of any losses in Ghaziabad as a result of the purported traffic problem. I disagree with putting farmers’ rights ahead of citizens’ rights simply because they have blocked one lane of the roadway to protest. The claims, in my opinion, are exaggerated.”