New Delhi: National level and other players from Punjab and Haryana, who arrived at Singhu Border, have converted a deserted mall into a makeshift resting place for farmers protesting the new agriculture laws for over a month here.
“There was no settlement in the starting when we came here. Later, according to our requirements, langar was set up and players from Haryana and Punjab contributed. The accommodation was another big problem here, so we found a deserted mall at Singhu and used its space as a makeshift resting facility. There was a lot of dirt at the place so we had to elaborately clean it up first,” National level footballer, Tony Sandhu, who hails from Punjab’s Jalandhar told ANI.
Sandhu and Kabaddi player Mangi Bagga from Punjab’s Shahkot started the initiative to help protesters with accommodation at the Singhu border. The makeshift arrangement is currently being used by approximately 2,000 people.
Speaking about contributions received from others in their initiative, Sandhu said,” Some NGOs provided tents due to which around 2,000 people can be accommodated here. This facility was set up 15 days ago and it is the biggest accommodation available near the protest site.”
Sandhu highlighted that the Punjabi community always comes forward to help those in need. He highlighted the endeavours by the community during the pandemic phase to justify the same.
“Everyone is attached to the soil. This is our duty, so many players are coming to help,” Sandhu said.
Anju Bala, from Ropar, who came along with her nonagenarian mother to the protest at the site said, “This is a great facility and they have made a tent city. My mother who is 90-year-old is being looked after well here. Farmers are our food providers and we are here for them only.”
Chandigarh resident Gurpreet Kaur, accompanied by her husband and 8-month-old child said, “This is a great facility and it is proving to be very efficient in protecting us from the harsh winter. We also get milk for the child here and we are able to sleep slightly better owing to this facility.”
Earlier on Wednesday, a meeting between the Union government and farmer leaders concluded at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar stating that a consensus was reached on two out of four issues on the agenda.
He also said that the next meeting will be held on January 4. The government told farmer leaders during the meeting on Wednesday that a committee could be formed to deliberate on their demands.
This is the seventh round of talks with government with farmers, including one with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.