Warmth hospitality at ‘Singh’ border - ECAS Punjab

Warmth hospitality at ‘Singh’ border

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Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service
Singhu border, December 14

These days, Aslam, a rag picker, has no time to rest. Unmindful of the purpose and outcome of the farmers' agitation, he is busy collecting 35-40 kg of empty water bottles daily against 5 kg to 6 kg till recently at the Singhu border. His daily earnings have also more than doubled in the last fortnight. Picking up an empty bottle at one of the protest sites, he asks a protesting farmer: "Sardarji aap kitne din rahoge".

With more and more farmers from Punjab joining the protest by the day, locals are calling Singhu border the 'Singh border'. The prolonged farmers' agitation is only strengthening the relation of dependency and trust between the guest (read farmers) and the locals.

A few kilometres away near TDI Mall, Sonepat, a gurdwara committee from Doaba has hired local women to cook chapattis. "We are paying each cook Rs 300 per day. As the number of farmers arriving daily swells, we might have to hire more cooks", says Shingara Singh, who is instrumental in organising ration for the community kitchen.

The selfless service of offering blankets, mattresses and a wide range of eatables is attracting a lot of locals, especially children, from nearby areas in large numbers. Sahib Singh of Baje Chak village in Gurdaspur says: "For the first few days, locals were wary of us. Dark memories of Jatt Andolan fresh in their mind, shopkeepers downed their shutter. But soon, the perception changed."

Locals are now allowing the farmers to use their facilities. A cellphone shop owner here is offering WiFi facility for free as jammers installed by the Haryana Police prevent free access to mobile data. Amused by "dharna and celebrations" going together, locals are asking farmers "Sardarji agle sal kab aayoge."

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3acL9y8

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