Protesting farmers have cool plans to beat the heat

Poornima Joshi, AM Jigeesh Tikri/Ghazipur Border | Updated on February 25, 2021

Elaan Singh, 97, camping at Ghazipur for three months, says he won’t move till the farm laws are repealed

Borewells have been dug, coolers and solar panels installed at protest sites

The scorching summer months can make anyone’s spirits flag. But farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Western UP protesting at the Tikri/Ghazipur border against the three central farm laws are all geared to beat the heat.

Preparations are afoot to augment drinking water, toilet facilities and food for the long, hot months ahead.

‘Not politics but our izzat’

At Ghazipur, the protestors will keep a symbolic presence while they fan out to the western UP villages with plans to keep the movement alive. Nonagenarian, Elaan Singh, 97, from Jaigethi Village in Meerut district who camped at Ghazipur, says, “At a few hours’ notice, we can gather a crowd of lakhs of us here. But there is no need for that right now. We will keep the face of the struggle alive here while we have protest programmes in every village. For us, it is not politics but our izzat.” Singh, who has two sons in the Army, says, “I want my next generations to remember that I fought for their land and honour.”

While farmers in western UP can easily do day trips to Ghazipur, for the farmers from Punjab camping in Tikri, which is quite far from their native places, more permanent arrangements need to be made. Different groups are busy constructing toilets, and about 4,000 coolers will arrive shortly. Nearly a hundred borewells have been dug at different places in the 25-30-km protest site for ensuring water supply. To ensure that the water is potable, one RO water filter is being provided. Arrangements are being made to put up solar panels for electricity supply.

Tasks have been delegated with military-like precision. For instance, the organisers of group langar at Power Pole No 9 are responsible for construction of toilets. For every facility, crowd-funding is organised. “We have collected donations of about ₹25 lakh from farmers for water filters alone,” said Santa Singh, a volunteer.

Published on February 25, 2021

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