Volunteers taking care of potato fields of farmers at Andlu village in Ludhiana’s Raikot. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Volunteers taking care of potato fields of farmers at Andlu village in Ludhiana’s Raikot. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Villagers pitch in take care of land of farmers who are protesting at Delhi borders

From arranging labour for the farms to spraying pesticides, fertilisers and feed for their cattle, villagers take care of everything, so that the protesting farmers don’t have to worry about their fields back home
By Harsimran Singh Batra
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:24 AM IST

With a large number of farmers leaving home for participating in the agitation against the three Central farm laws on the borders of Delhi, villagers and panchayats of their villages are also contributing to the struggle that started over a 100 days ago. Villagers have formed informal groups to ensure fields of farmers who leave for Delhi are not neglected and the required work is done.

From arranging labour for the farms to spraying pesticides, fertilisers and feed for their cattle, villagers take care of everything, so that the protesting farmer can go without any worries.

In the majority of villages, farmers in groups of 5-7 are sent to Delhi in turns for a week or so. After the group returns, another group is sent with the returning members taking care of the land and other work.

A resident of Kishangarh village in Raikot, Gaganpreet Singh said,”This is the time to harvest the potato crop and I along with my friends from my village and adjoining villages have been involved in overseeing the work being done by the labour in farms of Andlu village residents, who are participating in the protest. Even before the agitation began, the villagers used to share responsibility. We need to support each other for the success of the agitation.”

Villagers say monetary help is not required in most cases as farmers have arranged labour and they have agreements with shopkeepers for pesticides, fertilisers and other requirements. The farmer asks villagers to collect material and he makes the payment after returning.

A panchayat member of Lakha Singh Wala village, Harbans Singh said, “Every time a group leaves for Delhi, responsibilities are fixed at the village level, if required. When no family member is available for taking care of farms, the farmer in adjoining farm or some one else from the village is given responsibility. I spent five days in Delhi in February and my fellow villagers took care of my farm.”

Sudhar sarpanch Harminder Singh Gill said,”Villagers automatically extend support to those leaving for Delhi. We also ask owners of adjoining farms to look after the farms of the other. This fight cannot be won without unity. The panchayat also extends help to farmers joining the stir.”

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