At Singhu border, amid dozens of langars set up to feed the farmers, an unusual sight has come up: A 15-foot-tall steam boiler that helps prepare meals in no time. Donated by a gurdwara in Punjab, the boiler is kept over burning wood and placed on a trolley. Farmers say it helps prepare food for more than 10,000 people every day.
Surjit Singh (50), who brought the boiler two days ago from Gurdaspur, said more than 30 people work at this langar and cook food in batches. “We felt it was taking too long to cook rice, dal and sabji. On Wednesday, we took the boiler from the gurdwara and got it here,” he said.
The boiler has been in use since Thursday and takes at least three people to look after it at a time, including feeding wood to keep it running. Pipes coming out of the boiler are then put into large vessels filled with raw food.
Singh said they put 40 kg of dal and 100 litres of water in a single vessel. The pipe is then placed inside and the vessel covered with a steel plate. The dal takes around 25-30 minutes to cook and can feed around 2,500 people, he said.
For lunch, 50 kg of rice is put in a vessel, which is then filled with the same amount of water. The rice takes 25 minutes to cook.
Prabhjot (24), a farmer from Punjab, who helps serve the food, said, “We get vegetables, rice and dal from different farmers. Hundreds of people donate. More than 30,000 disposable plates are used every day and we serve food to farmers as well as locals.”
Singh said they have enough ration for four months — at the moment, the langar has 25 quintal rice, 20 quintal dal and 10 quintal salt, with more donated every day. Cooks said they also make aloo gobi or aloo matar sabzi every day.