At the Tikri border, setting up langars, cooking and providing food for thousands of protesters has come with its share of challenges — the major one being maintaining sanitation at the site. As the agitation entered the 11th day, disposable plates, vegetable peel, plastic bags and food packets lined the roads. Farmers are now calling in workers from their villages to help clean the streets.
The border, which connects Delhi’s Mundka and Peeragarhi to Jhajjar and other parts of Haryana, has now become home to more than 6,000 farmers.
Om Bir, a member of the langar service at the border, has called workers from his village Rohtak. “With over 500 trucks parked here, it’s not easy to maintain hygiene… people eat and sleep here. We take our langar very seriously. It is our sewa and we make sure everything is fresh and clean. We want to maintain this… hence, I asked my brother to send workers from his farm to help pick up the trash and clean the streets,” he said.
The garbage on the roads, meanwhile, has also attracted mosquitoes. On Saturday, a group of volunteers from Delhi bought 2,000 packets of Odomos, each containing 36 tubes of the mosquito repellent cream. “Isko hathh paer pe lagana”, announced the volunteers as they distributed them.
One of the volunteers said they have also distributed mosquito repellent coils at the Singhu border. He said, “When we came here, we thought we could help farmers with groceries but they have made all arrangements. Then we saw the garbage lying around and people cooking and sleeping near drains. We are now distributing mosquito repellents to help them.”
Meanwhile, a senior district official from Jhajjar said they have deployed 100 sanitation workers at the border to pick up used plates, cutlery, food waste and plastic. Some workers clean the porta cabins and sweep the streets.
However, farmers complained that the porta cabins aren’t clean and there is a lot of food waste on the streets.
Meghraj, a government school teacher from Haryana, who has joined the protest said, “We try to put the waste in bags and teach others to do the same but there are a lot of people here. People who do the cooking don’t know where to put the garbage. It’s not easy to live on the streets, especially in the winter. We try to do our part. My friend has sent a truck to ferry workers here and clean the roads.”
Farmer organisations also said over 20 workers from Punjab’s Khyala were taken to Tikri border on Sunday and paid to clean the streets. District officials said they will deploy more teams at the border to clean the roads and will also place more porta cabins for farmers.
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