New Delhi : Commuters travelling from the national capital to other states faced inconvenience due to the interruption of bus services during the 12-hour ‘Bharat Bandh’ on Friday, resulting in an atmosphere of confusion at the Kashmere Gate Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT).The ‘Bharat Bandh’ was called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions protesting the three contentious farm laws. The nationwide shutdown was scheduled from 6 am to 6 pm to mark four months of the farmers’ agitation on the borders of Delhi.Chaos prevailed at the ISBT in Delhi, from where buses offshoot to various states. Commuters sat on the ground in sweltering heat as they restlessly waited for the services to commence. Most of the travellers had no knowledge of the ‘Bharat Bandh’.Due to the low frequency of buses, the commuters had to wait for hours to board them. They were apprised by the transport officials that the services would commence normally after 6 pm as the roads going from Delhi to other states were blocked.From some states, the frequency of buses was low, while for others there was no service at all. The Punjab Roadways counters were shut, while a serpentine queue formed outside the Haryana Roadways ticket office. Buses to Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand operated as usual.Buses which left from the terminal were jam-packed, despite the prevailing coronavirus pandemic. Even at the ISBT, social distancing norms went for a toss due to overcrowding.
A family of four heading to Punjab rued, “We wanted to reach our destination to attend a wedding but now there is no clarity when the services will resume. We cannot hire a shared cab as it is too expensive.”Another commuter named Shubham, however, decided to take a cab to Chandigarh as he did not want to waste his time waiting at ISBT. “I had no idea about the Bharat Bandh. I visit my family every weekend and cannot waste time waiting here,” he said.Train and traffic movements were also impacted in many states. Train services were disrupted at 32 locations in Punjab and Haryana on Friday in the wake of the Bharat Bandh. The Railways cancelled four Shatabdi Express trains. Only ambulances and other essential services were allowed.On Thursday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha had said that all shops, malls, markets and commercial establishments will remain shut on Friday in view of its Bharat Bandh call on completion of four months of farmers’ protest on the borders of Delhi against the three Central farm laws.The Bharat Bandh called by SKM was supported by the representatives of various farmer organisations, trade unions, student groups, lawyer associations, political parties and state governments.Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping on the borders of Delhi — at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — since November 26, demanding repealing the farm laws and ensuring MSP for their produce.