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Monday, January 25, 2021

Farmers protest: 25 buses, tarpaulin sheets and a very large tent as protest sites tackle rain

On Wednesday, school-buses of Delhi’s Guru Harkrishan Public Schools, run under the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), were seen parked at several points of the Singhu protest site

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | January 7, 2021 2:26:25 am
Farmers Protest, Farm bills 2020, Punjab farmers, Delhi border, indian express newsThe school buses began operating as night shelters on Tuesday night. (Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

With the focus of farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders shifting from tackling severe cold to heavy rainfall, various new measures are being taken at the protest sites.

On Wednesday, school-buses of Delhi’s Guru Harkrishan Public Schools, run under the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), were seen parked at several points of the Singhu protest site. Inside the buses, the seats had been removed to create spacious spaces; the floors had been covered with rugs on top of which mattresses were laid; and cloth had been draped over the windows to create privacy. These school-buses began operating as night shelters for protesters on Tuesday night.

“There are 25 such buses across the protest sites, and one of these is an AC bus which is only for women. Around ten people can sleep in each bus. Apart from being a private place for people to sleep, it can also provide them a refuge from the rains,” said Prem Singh, an official at the DSGMC.

One of the buses has also been provided to a group of doctors from Punjab who are on call round the clock at the protest site. “We had been sleeping in one of the night-shelter tents before this but the last few nights were very uncomfortable because all the mattresses got wet. Seven of us slept in the bus last night — it was warmer and it helped us keep dry,” said Dr. Sunny Singh Alhuwalia, from Mohali district.

In the meantime, while farmers have waterproofed all their own trolleys and tents with tarpaulin sheets, organisers are also constructing a large waterproof tent structure to cover the central stage and the area in front of it where protesters sit to listen to speeches and watch programmes. On Wednesday, volunteers dug metal rods into the ground to erect the metal skeleton to support waterproof sheets.

“It’s a 50×200 feet tent and it’s to give some comfort to our fellow farmers who have been quite uncomfortable for the last few days. All the material has been donated from the sangat to adjust to the situation,” said Charanjeet Singh, overseeing the construction work.

Also at work for the last few days are a few farmers who have been fumigating the length and breadth of the several kilometres long protest site since day before yesterday.

“The fumigation machine was donated by a farmer friend of mine from Jalandhar because flies and mosquitoes were becoming more troublesome because of the rain. A few of us now start fumigating from the stage area at 9 am and are fumigating all the tents and trolleys. It takes us all day,” said Surinder Singh from Ropar district.

According to Dilbar Singh, who was assisting him, the daylong exercise requires over 100 litres of diesel.

“At one time, one tank contains 15 litres of diesel with 1.5 litres of insecticide, and another contains 1.5 litres of petrol. These run out in half an hour,” he said, as the filled up the tanks directly from the petrol and diesel pumps at a filling station at the Singhu border.

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