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First time since protest started: SKM steps in with ration aid as langars at Singhu face supply crunch

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha has distributed ration worth Rs 8 lakh to langars currently on at the Singhu, and interestingly, this was the same amount that was spent by SKM on preparation of the kisan parade.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
February 11, 2021 9:48:28 am
Singhu protest, farmers protest, farm lawsFarmers at Singhu border during their protest against farm laws, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2021. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

For the first time since the Singhu dharna started in November last year, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of protesting farmer unions, said that it had to step in with material support to keep round-the-clock langar sewa going at the protest site.

The SKM has distributed ration worth Rs 8 lakh to langars currently on at the Singhu. Interestingly, this was the same amount – Rs 8 lakh – that was spent by SKM on preparation of the kisan parade.

Sources said that supplies were affected in the wake of the Republic Day tractor parade that had ended up in violence after which police cracked down on the protesters. Earlier, langars were being funded mostly by Sikh bodies, Sikh Deras and gurdwaras, and SKM never had to make any contribution for the same.

So far, the SKM has spent around Rs 2 crore on running the morcha. SKM organisers, meanwhile, seemed confident that the need to contribute for langars will not arise in the future as things have started “returning to normal”.

“We have provided ration of around Rs 8 lakh to 120 langars at Singhu border. It was first time when we had to provide ration due to the events that played out after the kisan parade. Otherwise, langars were being run by protesters on their own. Following the kisan parade, supplies of ration to community kitchen were hit. Now things are returning to normal and we don’t think that there would be any need to provide ration in coming days,” said Raminder Singh, who is looking after the expenses for SKM.

Administration had removed lightning from protest site after kisan parade and SKM has installed their own lighting. Some generators also had to be arranged.

“So far we have spent around Rs 2 crore on this morcha since November 26 last year. We spend around Rs 1.50 lakh everyday. These are the necessary expenses that cannot be avoided. Most part of it is spent on running stage including expenditure on tent, sound, lighting, Siropas,” said Raminder.

SKM has also been spending good amount to keep the protest site clean and toilets running. Raminder added, “We have hired a team of around 17 men to remove the wastage from protest site. We spend around Rs 50,000 on the sanitation every week.”

The SKM leader said that around Rs 30 lakh has been spent on those protesters who needed medical help due to illness or accidents.

Tents and tarpaulin were also provided to the ongoing langars by the SKM to tackle with rain and cold.

“Soon we will make it public as to how much fund has been collected at Singhu morcha and how much is being spent and where,” said Raminder.

Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Dakunda) general secretary Jagmohan Singh said, “We have decided that once we win and bills are repealed, we would distribute the remaining funds among the families of those who got martyred during the agitation. So far around 200 have achieved martyrdom.”

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