Home Top News ‘Makeshift Tanks’, Iron Sheets: Farmers’ Plan To Cross Haryana Border

‘Makeshift Tanks’, Iron Sheets: Farmers’ Plan To Cross Haryana Border

‘Makeshift Tanks’, Iron Sheets: Farmers’ Plan To Cross Haryana Border


Delhi chalo march: The operator cabin of the JCB has a small grill for the handler to see.

The protesting farmers from Punjab have rejected the Centre’s proposal to buy three types of pulses, maize and cotton at the old MSP and their march to Delhi will continue today. The police and paramilitary forces have geared up to stop the convoy with multi-layer fortifications at the Shambhu border between Punjab and Haryana and other checkpoints that lead to the national capital.

Concrete barriers, barbed wires and large shipping containers are part of the multi-layer blockade by the administration. The cops have cemented nail strips on the highway to stop the movement of tractors and other vehicles by the farmers. Four years ago, farmers in large numbers had camped at various Delhi borders for months and the cops, anticipating a similar scenario, have taken such measures this time. The farmers have also geared up to counter any blockade by the police and are moving forward with their makeshift resources. 

Makeshift “Tank”

The farmers have created a makeshift “tank” to counter the measures and continue their ‘Dilli Chalo’ march. The first day of the protest saw intense protests, with tear gas shells fired by the police to disperse the farmers. Their resourceful approach includes a JCB Poclain Machine, used for digging and excavation, mounted on a tractor, with the operator cabin covered with iron sheets to protect the person from tear gas shells and rubber pellets. The protesting farmers believe the tear gas shells and rubber pellets will be ineffective in front of the iron sheet. The operator cabin of the JCB has a small grill for the handler to see. 

Farmers had covered their faces with layers of cloth to avoid inhalation of smoke emanating from the tear gas shells. Going a step further, a huge number of sacks have been soaked in water and will be thrown on the gas shell to stop the smoke. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to the Punjab Chief Secretary to ensure law and order. The Ambala police have filed a case against “unknown” drivers for taking Poclain machines with the intent to destroy public property.

‘Crossing The River’

The Haryana Police have installed metal sheets to block both sides of the highway that leads to Delhi at the Shambhu barrier over the Ghaggar river in Ambala. Expecting that the farmers will cross the river, the cops have dug up the river bed to stop the movement of tractors, trolleys and other motor vehicles. 

Farmers have loaded their trolleys with soil-filled sacks to make a temporary bridge to cross the river bed. Visuals show at least seven trolleys loaded with sacks. The temporary crossing can be used as a ramp for the tractors to cross the fortification. 

The aerial visuals show several layers of police barricades with personnel wearing helmets, and knee and chest pads to protect themselves from stone pelting, which was seen on the first day of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ march. Farmers said they would peacefully resume their march towards Delhi. “We want to appeal to the government to not use force against us. We want to protest peacefully,” farmers told NDTV.

‘Pose Serious Danger’

The Director General of Haryana police wrote to his Punjab counterpart and said, It is reliably learnt that heavy earth moving equipment including Poclain, JCB etc. that have been further modified/armour-plated have been acquired by protesting farmers and have been deployed at the border locations where the protestors are camping right now. These machines are meant to be used by the protesters to damage the barricades thereby posing a danger to the Police and Paramilitary forces deployed on duty and are likely to compromise the security scenario in the State of Haryana.”

The Haryana police chief asked the Punjab counterpart to “take all necessary steps to immediately seize these machines from the protesting sites at the borders and take all preventive steps so that the Poclain/JCB machines and other heavy machinery which may cause harm to security forces are not allowed to reach the protesting sites.”

The top officer said, “Certain farmer unions are protesting and camping at the Shambhu border and credible inputs have been received that the protesters may keep women, children and senior citizens in the front so that the police can be deterred from taking legal action.”

The DGP Haryana police said, “If farmers resort to forcefully removing the barricades then the police will have no other option but to take legal action and this may lead to avoidable risk of injury,” adding that “Women, children and senior citizens may kindly be stopped at a safe distance from conflict points.”

The Punjab DGP has written to all the district chiefs and other senior officials to stop the movement of earth movers towards the protest site.

Union Minister Arjun Munda, “I would appeal to the farmers and the farmers organisations which are connected with this (protest) to maintain peace. We have to take it forward from discussion to solutions. We all want peace…and we should together find a solution for this issue.” 

Talks Fail, March Resumes

Protesting farmers rejected the government’s proposal of a five-year contract to buy maize, cotton and three types of pulses at the old minimum support price. 

The announcement by the protesting farmers came hours after the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of farmer unions, which is not part of the current protests, also criticised the MSP proposal. 

Laying out the reasons for rejecting the proposal, farmer leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal said in Hindi, “The government proposed (on Sunday night) and we have studied it. It doesn’t make sense for the MSP to apply to only two or three crops and for the other farmers to be left to fend for themselves.”



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