Haryana farmers who had blocked a crucial stretch of the Delhi-Ambala National Highway near Shahbad in Kurukshetra district for nearly 24 hours, agreed to lift the blockade on Saturday morning after the state government agreed to their demand of early paddy procurement, PTI reported.

The decision was taken after the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a midnight hearing, directed the state government to take immediate steps to ensure movement of traffic on the national highway, The Tribune reported.

A bench of Justices Augustine George Masih and Alok Jain also noted that the district administration should have taken steps to prevent the situation and ordered that the cause of the farmers’ protest be sorted out.

The order was passed at 2 am on Saturday after the court decided to urgently hear a public interest litigation filed by Advocate Randeep Tanwar.

The farmers, led by Gurnam Singh Charuni of the Bharatiya Kisan Union-Charuni, had blocked the highway on Friday morning demanding early procurement of paddy. They parked tractors and trailers on the highway and threatened to continue the protest till their demands are met.

The farmers feared the paddy produced by them will get spoiled due to rain and humidity as they do not have enough storage space.

On Saturday, the Haryana government agreed to begin the procurement process from October 1, NDTV reported. The procurement cap in five districts with high yield of crop has been increased from 22 to 30 quintals per acre, Charuni said. In several other districts, the cap has been raised to 28 quintals per acre.