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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Farmers’ Protest: As trucks and tractors make several trips a day, some mechanics offer free repairs

Rantir Singh (40), a mechanic from Barnala, said: “There are a lot of people who need medical help and also need to get their vehicles repaired... We have repaired more than 30 vehicles in the last week. My brother also helps old farmers with medicines and food.”

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi | Updated: December 5, 2020 12:07:48 pm
farm bills, farm bill protest, punjab farmers, protest, punjab farmers protest in delhi, indian express newsVehicles serve many purposes for protesters. (Photo by Amit Mehra)

From mechanics helping farmers fix their tractors to students distributing medicines for free — a support system has come up for thousands of protesters at the capital’s borders.

At the Singhu border near Haryana, farmers had arrived in hundreds of trucks and tractors that they use for daily trips to nearby towns to get groceries. Jagdish Singh (60), a member of the Jamhuri Kisan Dal, who came from Punjab to Delhi with more than 50 farmers, said: “We are facing issues as our trucks are being used by people to carry food and groceries. The tyres often get punctured and we need someone to fix it. I have sent a truck to ferry mechanics from our hometown in Abhora to here.”

Some of the vehicles were also damaged after a clash with the Haryana police on November 23 and 24, which saw stone pelting, lathicharge and tear gas shelling.

Sonu (23), a mechanic from Punjab’s Firozpur, has been helping farmers alongside his father for three days at the border. “My father runs a repair shop back home and I work there. My cousins and friends are farmers. They are going through a rough time and we see it as our duty to help them. My elder brother is taking care of our shop while we are here. It is our sewa…,” he said. The duo has helped repair more than 10 trucks in the last two days.

Some farmer organisations also sought help from mechanics in Punjab.

Rantir Singh (40), a mechanic from Barnala, said: “There are a lot of people who need medical help and also need to get their vehicles repaired… We have repaired more than 30 vehicles in the last week. My brother also helps old farmers with medicines and food.”

A few volunteers have also set up small stalls near the border to distribute medicines, with some even selling toothbrushes and power banks.

Gurjant Singh (23), a student from Panjab University, said, “We bought some medicines from Haryana a week ago. My friends have joined the protest here and I wanted to help them. We kept the medicines on a table and are giving them for free. Most farmers here are old and need medicines… we have ones for cough, cold, stomach ache, diabetes and blood pressure.”

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