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At protest sites, farm unions get Covid battle-ready with team of doctors, oxygen

Apart from issuing advisories to protesters to adopt pandemic-appropriate behaviour, oxygen cylinders and concentrators are also being kept handy at the sites.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
May 12, 2021 9:25:38 am
The farm activists sanitise the protest site at Tikri (Express photo)

With farmers still heading for the Delhi borders to participate in the ongoing protest at Tikri and Singhu morchas, farm union leaders have now started preparations to tackle Covid emergencies at the protest sites. Apart from issuing advisories to protesters to adopt pandemic-appropriate behaviour, oxygen cylinders and concentrators are also being kept handy at the sites.

“Earlier, the speeches were only about the three farm laws, but now various speakers, including the head of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) Joginder Singh Ugrahan, have been talking about the spread of the Covid and asking us to take proper precautions including wearing masks, maintaining distance, and hand sanitisation,” said a woman participant, Baljit Kaur, at Tikri border.

“They are asking us to drink hot water, keep our throat wet all the time, avoid fasting, and use herbs like cardamom, ginger, ajwain etc. while making tea,” said another protestor and farmer leader Jagsir Singh.

He added that during the day such announcements are made 5-6 times from the stage.

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Dr. Daler Singh Multani (right) with an oxygen concentrator at Tikri Border

“Whosoever gets sick is immediately attended to by a team of doctors so as to know whether person has any Covid-like symptoms or not,” said Vasant Singh Kotha Guru Ka, senior Vice President of BKU (Ugrahan), Bathinda, adding that apart from this “we are spraying the place of protest with sanitiser every day along with fogging against the breeding of the mosquitoes, which can also make peoplesick”.

Dr Daler Singh Multani, a retired Civil Surgeon from Fazilka, said that his team has been at Tikri border since December and he has been visiting on and off at the protest site, adding up to 13 trips so far to Tikri border.

“We are taking care against the spread of Covid and have already made the activists aware about the things to be followed against the spread of the virus here. We have already placed an oxygen concentrator here in case of any emergency and hopefully it was not needed here as protestors are safe so far and our main focus is on that everyone should wear a mask and maintain the social distancing more,” he said.

“Our leaders are now asking us not to bring many activists from Punjab for the coming couple of weeks as Covid wave is quite deadly this time and our number should not go beyond 9,000 to 10,000 at a time against over 50,000 earlier,” said a farm leader at Tikri border.

Farm activists sanitise the protest site at Tikri

“At Singhu border, the Sanyunkt Kisan Morcha (SKM) has set up a makeshift hospital,” said general secretary, BKU (Doaba), Satnam Singh Sahni, adding that people are being made aware about Covid-19. Several health camps are being set up at the Singhu where people having any ailment are attended to and focus is on sanitation and cleanliness of the area.

Also, some oxygen cylinders have been arranged by farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal from Mandi Gobindgarh, added Sahni.

“It is shame on the Centre is ignoring the protesting farmers, who are sitting under high risk of Covid. But Covid spread cannot stop farmers from getting their genuine rights. Even yesterday, 200 vehicles from Doaba region went to Delhi to participate in the protest,” he added.

“The farmers will not take even a step back despite Covid pandemic,” said another senior farm leader Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan.

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