The farmers protesting against the new farm laws at Delhi borders woke up to a difficult Sunday morning as tents were waterlogged and firewood and blankets soaked due to the overnight rains. Cold conditions worsened and continuous rains led to waterlogging at the agitation venues. The waterproof tents did not help much, according to the protesters.
Farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar, member of the Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, said farmers have waterproof tents but they cannot protect them from biting cold and waterlogging. “The situation is very bad at protest sites due to rain which has caused waterlogging. There is so much cold after the rains, but the government is not able to see our misery,” he said.
Gurwinder Singh, who is camping at the Singhu Border, said there is waterlogging at some places as civic facilities are not up to the mark but asserted the weather will not dampen the spirit of farmers who have been protesting for over a month. “Despite facing several problems, we will not move from here until our demands are met,” he said.
Related news | Farmers’ protest: Sonia Gandhi urges Centre to follow ‘Raj Dharma’
According to a MeT Department official, heavy rainfall was reported in areas across Delhi and minimum temperatures have increased due to clouding and easterly winds. “Safdarjung observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 9.9 degrees Celsius…with 25 mm rain. Palam observatory recorded a minimum temperature of 11.4 degrees Celsius with 18 mm rain. Rain with hail storm is expected until January 6,” the official said.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at three Delhi border points — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — for more than a month, demanding repeal of the new laws and a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) and two other issues.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) leader Sukhdev Singh, whose outfit is leading the protest at Tikri border, said the arrangements made by farmers to brave the cold weather are not helping much because of rains and subsequent waterlogging.
Veerpal Singh, a protesting farmer, said their blankets, clothes and wood are soaked. “Our clothes are soaked due to waterlogging caused by rains. Besides, we are facing difficulties to cook food as rain water has also soaked firewood. We do have an LPG cylinder but not everyone here has it,” he said.
Dharmveer Yadav, who is camping at the Ghazipur border protest site, said farmers will not move an inch from their agitation venues. “We are ready to face any problem, be it heavy rain or storm, but we will not leave this place in any condition until our demands are met,” Yadav said.
Rainwater also entered camps at Burari ground and the protesters were seen draining the water out and rearranging their belongings to prevent from soaking in water.
Sukhwinder Singh, joint secretary of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee Punjab, said, “This is the time when we sow wheat. We work in our fields during night and early hours in Punjab where the temperature is even below the mercury is here. This would not hamper the courage of farmer.”
Gurmel Singh from Patiala district of Punjab, said, “We have not been affected by the rains. We have covered our tractor trollies completely.”
Avatar Singh from Ambala district of Haryana said, “We had made our arrangements considering the possibility of rains. The grain is completely safe and under the tent. But the rains have only created mud due to which people are facing difficulty in walking. We are cleaning the area and trying to clear waterlogging.”
Meanwhile, WhatsApp forwards with requests for essential amenities, including tarpal, tent, cots et al, are pouring in.
(With inputs from agencies)