Tractors turn into shelters for protesting farmers

Tractors, trolleys, farm equipment turn into temporary shelters for protesting farmers

Having gathered here in thousands amid the coronavirus pandemic, they claim adverse conditions do not affect them

Tractor-trolleys and key farm equipment have turned into temporary shelters for thousands of farmers who have assembled at the borders of the to protest against the Centre's new farm laws.

The ongoing protests by thousands of farmers entered the fifth day on Monday, with the protesters threatening to block all five entry points to Delhi.

As temperatures have dipped, the farmers demanding that the laws be repealed are spending the chilly nights inside their tractor-trolleys covered with tarpaulin, which they have turned into temporary shelters.          

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Most of the farmers have brought at least two trolleys with each tractor with one of them carrying ration and other essentials and the other being used to accommodate the protesters.

Stubble or crop residue, disposal of which otherwise becomes a major challenge for the farmers, is also coming in handy as many have cushioned their trolleys with layers of straw and laid mattresses over it to protect them from the cold.

Night temperatures over the last few days have been settling in the range of around 9 degrees Celsius.     

 Also Read | PM Modi accuses opposition parties of 'misleading' farmers on farm laws

The tractor-trolleys have occupied over a 10-km-long area in this Haryana district which lies along the Ambala-Delhi national highway.       

Among the protesters are several men and women, some of them aged over 70 years.        

Flags of various farmers' outfits from Punjab and Haryana can be seen fluttering atop the tractors, some of which are fitted with loudspeakers and used by the leaders of peasants' bodies to address the gatherings.

Also Read | Farmers' protest at Delhi borders may act as Covid-19 ‘superspreader’ event: Experts

The protesting farmers say they will force the Centre to repeal the “anti-farmer” laws.        

Having gathered here in thousands amid the coronavirus pandemic, they claim adverse conditions do not affect them as they are used to various challenges anyway while working in the fields.       

“If these laws are implemented, farmers will be destroyed,” said Trilok Singh, a farmer from Amritsar as he sipped freshly prepared tea with some bread and biscuits.         

Protesting farmers have said that they have come prepared for a long stir and have stocked themselves with ration, clothes, cooking gas cylinders, quilts and other essentials.    

 Also Read | Farmers' protest: Concrete barriers at Delhi-Ghaziabad border point as more join protest

“We will rest only when these laws are scrapped. In Punjab, we peacefully sat in protest for two months, but our plight did not move the Centre, now they will have to listen to us because our livelihoods are at stake,” said another farmer Lakhwinder Singh from Moga district.        

When asked that Centre claims these laws will benefit them and give them wider choice to sell their crops, Lakhwinder Singh said, “The one who is going to eventually benefit are the big corporates, we don't see much gain for farmers.”        

Another farmer Kuldeep Singh said, “When the Centre first brought ordinance before these laws were passed, did they consult farmers at any stage. When farmers don't want these reforms, why are these being thrust upon us?”          

Also Read | Farmers' protest enters 5th day: Key things to know

The farmers said that they would not return to their homes, till their demand for scrapping of three farm laws was accepted.          

Meanwhile, the farmers on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on Monday, the founder of Sikhism, performed 'Ardas' (prayer) at the Haryana-Delhi border and distributed 'karah parshad' among protesters.

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh and various factions of Bharatiya Kisan Union had given a call for the Delhi Chalo protest to press the central government to scrap the three new farm laws.

Farmers protesting against the Centre's three farm laws have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporates

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