Every day, Dev Roz, a 21-year-old student from Rewari and a member of the Jamindara Student Organisation (JSO), travels to five different places to buy drinking water for protesters at the Tikri border. At 10 pm, he first receives a text from the farmer leaders about the requirement. He then sets off in a truck, buying all the bottles at night so he can reach the protest site early the next day.
“Today, I collected more than 1.5 lakh Bisleri bottles from Delhi’s Nangloi and Mundka and Haryana’s Bahadurgarh and Rohtak. We get money from the general secretary to buy water; sometimes, the shopkeepers give us the bottles for free,” said Dev, who joined the protest with his family two weeks ago.
Other farmers in JSO — which runs one of the biggest langars at the border — receive texts about the next day’s meal plan on their WhatsApp groups. JSO general secretary Meet Maan (42) said he is part of four such groups and sends meal plans to farmers so they can collect vegetables and groceries accordingly.
Vikram Singh (38), another JSO member from Baliana in Rohtak, travels 40 km every day to collect firewood, sugar and wheat. He said: “We are usually told to get 50 quintals of flour and 30 quintals of sugar along with vegetables and wood. My friends and I leave in 30 tractors and trolleys to collect these from farmers in Baliana and nearby villages in Rohtak. We don’t know how much we receive, the quantities are huge… sometimes we have three tractors that are filled with milk cans and sugar sacks. We have to drive slow to not damage the goods but also reach Tikri on time as cooking starts at 5-6 am. It’s good that Haryana Police doesn’t stop us now. There’s traffic near Jhajjar but we are used to it.”
Over 100 members from JSO are also at Tikri, cooking food for more than 10,000 people every day. Some of the members also run a small medical centre, handing out cough and cold medicines for free.
Maan claimed the organisation also receives vegetables from Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
Pushpender Thakur, a transporter, said he travels from Tikri to Himachal and Punjab to collect peas, tomatoes, potatoes and cabbage from farmers either every day or every alternative day. “We have a collection point in Una in Himachal where more than 200 farmers give vegetables. I have been told to get these vegetables in my truck and give it to farmers at Tikri border. I also get calls from farmers here, asking me to go to Himachal or Punjab to get supplies. Yesterday, I was also told to ferry 50 women farmers from Punjab to Tikri…,” he said.
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