For the first few days of the protest at Tikri, Harjinder Kaur (60) from Sangrur in Punjab used to walk for half an hour to get to the closest petrol pump in order to use the washroom. “But then we heard about a local farmer who created a makeshift bathing area and guest room for us.”
Located around 500 metres from the main protest site, the temporary bathroom structure, built by Somveer Kandia (36) using cane walls and covered with a plastic sheet, is a blessing for over 300 women every morning.
Further, Kandia, who stays with his wife and two children, has also converted an empty office into a guesthouse which has two beds and a washroom. They also provide tea and food for visitors. Kandia, who grows wheat, potato, mustard and corn in the three acre field belonging to his relative Siddharth Rathi, said he has taken a break from farming to do sewa.
Keertan Kaur (53), a farmer from Sangrur, said, “Before we knew about this facility, we could not take a shower and we would walk till the petrol pump or defecate in the open.”
At 5 am, Kandia and his family also prepare hot water on a chulha for the bath. “Every day over 150 quintal of wood is used to prepare hot water. Sometimes, we buy the wood and sometimes, other farmers donate it.” He added that his brother-in-law, who runs a business in America, sends him money for sewa.
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