Since about 25 days, protests have been ongoing at Delhi’s Singhu and Tikri borders against the three disputed farm laws. Farmers have travelled hundreds of kilometres from their homes to gather together to agitate against the bills. They are tackling many challenges, one of which is lack of cleanliness and the attendant risk of disease. Although the farmers are making a concerted effort at their level, it won’t be possible to overcome this problem without the government’s support. Some doctors from Punjab and Haryana are working to provide adequate medical facilities for the protesting farmers. Dr Sawai Maan Singh from Punjab said, “In the past few days there has been a sudden increase in diarrhoea, which is not right.” He told us that at first they had not realised the protest would continue for so long. But once that became clear, they had been trying to arrange for adequate resources.
Dr Deol, who had accompanied Dr Singh, explained that separate facilities had been arranged for women, and they were also ensuring that women’s needs for their wellbeing were being met. “We are providing sanitary pads for women. We don’t believe in being conservative about such things. We have a progressive approach in which we recognise women’s needs and we are making sufficient arrangements for them.” Besides these issues, portable toilets are also being organised. A team of volunteers is on duty at regular intervals to clean the protest grounds, and this way the farmers are making sure cleanliness is maintained. Both the doctors and farmers are working hard to overcome the problem, however, the government needs to seriously pay attention to this challenge and ensure adequate arrangements for cleanliness at the protest sites.
The author of this article is Prabhat Tiwari. This article was first published in the third ediion of Trolley Times.