Don’t build permanent structures at protest site: SKM

On Saturday, Kundli police had registered two FIRs against farmers for constructing brick and mortar houses and digging borewell along the highway at Kundli on the complaint of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The protesters had been building shelters using bamboo, tin, plywood and even bricks at the Tikri and Singhu borders over the last two weeks to beat the summer heat and rain.
The protesters had been building shelters using bamboo, tin, plywood and even bricks at the Tikri and Singhu borders over the last two weeks to beat the summer heat and rain.
Updated on Mar 15, 2021 08:22 AM IST
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By, New Delhi

The farmers’ collective Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Sunday called on farmers to stop constructing permanent structures at sites where they were protesting the Centre’s farm laws.

The protesters had been building shelters using bamboo, tin, plywood and even bricks at the Tikri and Singhu borders over the last two weeks to beat the summer heat and rain.

On Saturday, Kundli police had registered two FIRs against farmers for constructing brick and mortar houses and digging borewell along the highway at Kundli on the complaint of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

“On March 12, 32 Punjab farmer unions decided that protesters should not get into building any permanent structures at the protest sites. This decision was taken against the backdrop of some such structures coming up at Singhu border,” said SKM leader Darshan Pal on Sunday.

At many of these structures, protesters had installed air conditioners, refrigerators, fans and coolers.

“The building material was crowd-sourced from villages or bought from nearby stores,” said Kishan Pal Singh, 47, a farmer from Jind in Haryana. “We have seen people questioning us on social media for using fans and coolers. It is sad that they are more concerned about this than the deaths of 200 farmers in the agitation.”

Anil Malik, 41, leader of Kisan Social Army that has been volunteering at the Tikri protest site, said farmers had no idea how long the 109 days old agitation would continue.

“If it had been a matter of 10-20 days, we could have stayed on the roads. We have elderly protesters and many are at risk of heat stroke. Plus, there is the rain,” said Malik who is from Chakhi Dadri in Haryana. “If our leaders have asked us not to build any structure, we will respect that. But they have to suggest alternatives.”

SKM’s media coordinator Harinder Singh said that they would come up with temporary arrangements. “We are thinking of having more tents or temporary bamboo structures as trolleys are not suitable for these weather conditions,” said Singh.

Farmers at the protest sites said along with the heat, the dust and mosquito menace added to the woes of staying in the open.

Through the protest’s trilingual weekly Trolley Times, volunteers and youth activists at Tikri border had also given the call for architects and designers to submit eco-friendly low-cost summer houses for farmers sitting at the protest spot last month.

Suchetna Singh, 26, an architect who hails from Ludhiana and has been in Delhi for two years, was among those who volunteered to design these low-cost structures for the farmers. “We had to keep in mind that these structures could be disassembled and taken back to the villages if needed. Many farmers had already made their own structures using their knowledge and experience and those who were still building one came to us and asked for inputs on if we could make it easier.”

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Friday, January 28, 2022