Farmer organizations Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and Samyukta Kisan Morcha along with the Central Trade Unions (CTU) have jointly called for an Industrial/Sectoral strike and Grameen Bharat Bandh (Nationwide Shutdown) on 16 February from 0600-1600 hours. The bandh aims to highlight the unfulfilled promises made by the central government during the 2020 protests and draw attention to various issues including demands for Minimum Support Price (MSP ), impacting farmers and workers across the country.

As part of the shutdown, farmers have planned to stage chakka jams (road blockade) on main roads nationwide and close Punjab’s highways for four hours 1200-1600 hours. Innovative demonstration strategies like staging street plays, songs, and poetry to highlight their demands have been decided. Though, no overt endorsement to violence have been made and elaborate security arrangements are underway, escalations leading to clashes cannot be ruled out as was witnessed on the previous round of protest on 13 February. Majority of the disruption is witnessed on road, affecting both roadways and railways. Despite special traffic arrangements, commuters are likely to face severe traffic disruptions. Operational disruptions to business and supply chains are also anticipated, therefore, necessitating companies to prepare adequately for contingencies.

Additionally, on 17 February, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait has also stated that a mahapanchayat (mass gathering) will be organized at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh to discuss the farmers’ issues. Farm leaders and BKU activists from Uttra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana will attend the gathering at Kisan Bhawan in Sisauli. The Federation of Karnataka State Farmers’ Associations has also called a Bengaluru Chalo (march to Bengaluru) Conference on 17 February. The farmers will submit a petition to the State Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for their existing demands. In order to ensure large participation, farmers and office bearers of certain organizations have been provided free of cost travel facility to attain the Conference. By 16 February evening, farmers from every district and village of Karnataka are expected to reach Bengaluru. Though authorities are yet to issue any traffic advisory, the State Highway and intra-city routes are likely to remain congested until 18 February which may delay employee commute and supply chains.

Main Demands

  • Implementation of MSP laws, legal guarantee of procurement, debt waiver, no hike in electricity tariff and no smart metres.
  • Addressing unemployment, initiating a pension scheme and Agniveer scheme, among others.
  • Pensions for farmers, implementation of Old Pension Scheme (OPS) for employees, withdrawal of amendments to labour laws, and ensuring a minimum monthly wage of INR 26,000 for workers.
  • Free 300 units of power for farming for domestic use and shops, comprehensive crop insurance.
  • Revisions to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), including raising daily wages to INR 600 and ensuring 200 days of work per individual annually, along with social security and pensions for all sectors.

Supporters and Additional Demands

  • Government employees and trade unions have announced their participation, demanding the nullification of the old pension scheme and the formation of an 8th pay scale commission.
  • Haryana Sanjha Morcha roadway employees have joined, demanding changes to provisions related to hit-and-run cases, restoration of the pension scheme, and wage increases.
  • Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Jharkhand unit of Indian National Congress (INC) have expressed solidarity with the shutdown call.
  • A number of public intellectuals and artists have issued a joint statement supporting the shutdown.

Operations that are/likely to be Suspended

  • Purchase and supply of vegetables and other grains and crops will be suspended.
  • Public transportation services will not be available.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) rural works, private offices, village shops, and rural industrial and service sector institutions are likely to remain closed. (No specific restrictions or directives have been issued for private offices, therefore, the decision to operate or not currently lies within the company’s prerogative).

Impact on Emergency Services

  • Protestors have assured that emergency services such as ambulance operations, medical shops, will operate as usual.
  • Educational and medical facilities will operate as well.
  • Scheduled events like board exams and weddings will not get affected.

Areas Currently Witnessing Disruptions

  • Farmers have blocked railway tracks at Rajpura in Patiala district of Punjab.
  • The follow ing trains are impacted due to the ongoing protest along the Ambala Division of the Northern Railway –
    • Cancelled on 15 February: Train number 04753, Bathinda-Shri Ganganagar service; Train number 04756, Shri Ganganagar-Bathinda service.
    • Partially cancelled on 15 February: Train number 14736, Ambala-Shri Ganganagar service will be cancelled between Bathinda and Shri Ganganagar; Train number 14735, Shri Ganganagar-Ambala service will be cancelled between Shri Ganganagar and Bathinda.
    • Rerouted on 15 February: Train number 19612, Amritsar-Ajmer Express, will be operated via a changed route through Tarn Taran Jn.-Beas.
  • Railway tracks have been blocked at Rajpura Railway Station as well.
  • Severe traffic disruptions have been recorded across Delhi and along Tikri and Singhu border points.

Special Traffic Arrangements in Place

  • Singhu border on NH-44 is inaccessible for traffic, and the attached diversions are in place –
Singhu border
  • For vehicles moving on Delhi-Haryana border, follow the attached traffic advisory –
Delhi Haryana border
  • The following restrictions have been issued along various inter-State borders –
inter State borders
image 012 6
  • Additional Traffic Arrangements Issued by Haryana Government –
    • Vehicles from Chandigarh to Delhi should take the route via Panchkula, Barwala, Barara, Baban, Ladwa, Pipli-Kurukshetra or via Panchkula, Barwala, Yamunanagar (NH-344), Ladwa. Reached Delhi via Indri, Karnal.
    • Vehicles from Hisar and Sirsa to Chandigarh can reach Panchkula via Kaithal (152-D), Pehwa via Kurukshetra, Babain, Barara, Barwala. Similarly, passengers coming from Rewari, Narnaul, Jind can reach Panchkula from Kaithal via Pehwa, Kurukshetra, Ladwa, Babain, Barara, Dosadka.

Security Restrictions in Place

  • Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that prohibits the assembly of four or more people among other restrictions have been issued in Delhi until 12 March.
  • Section 144 of CrPC has also been imposed in 15 districts of Haryana (confirmed list of these districts are awaited) and a total of 64 companies of paramilitary forces and 50 of the state police are deployed.
  • Section 144 of CrPC is also imposed in Chandigarh until 13 March.
  • Two key border points between Delhi and Haryana – Tikri and Singhu, will remain sealed for traffic.
  • Internet services have been suspended in certain areas of Punjab’s Patiala (Shatrana, Samana, Ghanaour, Devigarh and Balbhera), Sangrur (Khanauri, Moonak, Lehra, Sunam, Chajli) and Fatehgarh Sahib districts till 16 February.
  • Security personnel in anti-riot gears deployed at strategic locations in Delhi.
  • Traffic movement across Ghazipur border with Uttar Pradesh is permitted but continues to be under the watch of security personnel.
  • At Singhu border, security personnel deployed a Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) that is an extremely high-frequency sound system to help in dispersal of crowd.

What May Repeat from 13 February Protest?

  • Police may resort to teargas shells to disperse farmers approaching the police barricade at the Punjab-Haryana or approaching towards Delhi.
  • Haryana government may further extend the ban on mobile internet and bulk SMS services in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa or other districts as per situational requirement.
  • In addition to farmers, locals may also join in and increase the protest in strength and capability which may prompt authorities to use harsh methods of containment like baton-charging, using rubber shells, water cannons or undertaking mass detentions.
  • If the demands are not acknowledged or met, farmers and the trade unions may call for another round of shutdown.


For Organisations:

  • Given that protestors have also requested private offices to not operate on 16 February, it is advised to especially those operating out of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to internally decide about operations and plan for a remote or light working day.
  • Since, the agitation is going on for a while and further calls for strikes and/or shutdowns cannot be ruled out, it is advised to lay down a dynamic Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that could be altered with ease for employees and supply chains as per situational requirements.
  • Risk of suspension of Internet or bulk SMS facility prevails; therefore, it is advised to not plan for any important online meeting or event on 16 February.
  • Unscheduled power outages are a possibility, advised to have adequate power backups ready.
  • Supply chain disruptions are very likely as border and railway blockades have become the common demonstration tactics for the farmers, therefore, cater for delays while confirming or placing orders.
  • Risk of vandalism, outbreak of clashes or fire mishaps tends to increase during escalations, advised to maintain a strict entry-exit log and ensure that CCTVs, monitoring tools, alarms, and fire extinguishers are working properly.
  • Given the tense situation on ground and traffic disruptions, offering transportation facilities to employees are recommended.
  • Ensure that all doors and windows are closed properly until the situation stabilises and prepare an evacuation plan for emergency situations.
  • If possible, arrange for a hotline or 24*7 support for undertaking travel on 16-17 February and the preceding week.
  • Circulation of misinformation and disinformation rises during trying times, advised to train employees to not panic or act on unverified information. Rely on directives by local authorities or information from credible and reliable sources.

For Individuals:

  • Advised to not plan for a trip on the upcoming weekend (17-18 February) and the preceding week as road restrictions and traffic disruptions may continue in Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Karnataka beyond 16 February.
  • In Bengaluru, Section 144 is imposed whenever any protest or disruptions take place. It is likely that similar prohibitory orders will get imposed on 17 February. Though, such a measure does not directly impact business operations, however, heightened security and gathering near Freedom Park remain likely.
  • In case travelling is required, advised to cater for delays and consider additional travel time.
  • Mobile internet suspension is a possibility and WhatsApp calls, or UPI payments may not work, therefore, ensure that cellular phones are charged and have adequate balance to make calls. It is also recommended to carry a portable charger and cash in small denomination.
  • Keep emergency numbers handy, on speed-dial as well as in writing.
  • Advised to postpone shifting requirements (if any), as borders connecting Delhi are sealed and Highways connecting Karnataka may face congestion, and thus, items may get lost in transit.
  • Given that authorities have strengthened security checks along tolls and strategic locations, it is advised to carry proper identity proofs when stepping outside. If availing private or personal vehicles, carry essential vehicle documents as well.
  • Ensure that personal vehicles are serviced and have adequate fuel.
  • Advised to avoid making sensitive comments both in public discussion and social media as it may act as a trigger to the ongoing disturbances.
  • MitKat advises to steer clear of protest sites and remain vigilant of situational updates.
  • It is also a time when frequency of WhatsApp forwards, links to register solidarity or support increases, it is strictly advised to not click on any unverified link or make any transactions. For safety tips on WhatsApp usage, refer to MitKat’s Special Advisory on WhatsApp Scams and Safety Measures.

Important Contacts and Source Links

  • Police/ Emergencies – 112
  • National Highway Helpline Number – 1033
  • Fire – 101

For Delhi

For Haryana

For Punjab

  • Punjab Police (security updates) – @DGPPunjabPolice
  • Chandigarh Traffic updates – @trafficchd
  • Chandigarh Police – @ChdPol

For Uttar Pradesh

For Bengaluru

Contact 4

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