New Delhi: As farmer unions announced suspension of their agitation, local residents and traders at the Singhu border protest site expressed mixed emotions, with small traders fearing loss of customers and others hoping for a smoother road connectivity.

Thousands of farmers, prominently from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, had been protesting at the borders of the national capital since November 26 last year demanding repeal of the three farm laws.

Vijay Hooda (28), who lives in Haryana’s Sonipat district, said his mother suffered due to the road closure as she had to commute a longer distance for work.

“My mother works in Haiderpur (in Delhi) and travels around 50 kilometres to her workplace everyday. Her morning travel is convenient as she takes the train. However, there is no train service to Sonipat when she leaves her office at 2 pm. Because of this, she is compelled to change four vehicles in three hours and travel back those 50 kilometres. The public transport fares have also been doubled,” he said.

On Thursday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, announced that farmers will go back home on December 11.

Farmer leaders said they will meet on January 15 to see if the government has fulfilled their demands.

Ravinder Kumar, a tea seller at the Singhu border protest site, said his business increased since farmers began camping here.

“It is a highway and not many people stop here. Earlier, my business was limited. I run a small tea stall near the service lane and my business increased when the farmers arrived here.

“People come here and buy tea and other products. Sometimes, we also get food from the protesters, he told PTI.

Sandeep Rathi, who lives in Singhu village and is pursuing graduation, said the local residents had no issues with the protesting farmers, but wanted to see a smooth commute.

“We have no issues with the farmers. But the road closure is a big concern. The villagers are taking alternate routes causing traffic snarls on service roads. Relatives, too, avoid visiting our homes… Rathi said.

Amardeep Singh, who owns an auto spare parts shop, is hopeful that his business will be back to normal when the stir ends.

Sewa Singh, who opened a saloon on the roadside, said his business totally depended on the protesting farmers.

I opened this saloon around three months ago and my business depended on these protesters. I will have to vacate when they do,” he said.

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