Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 23
Farmers at Tikri border will no longer have to jostle in a crowd in search of relief material provided by voluntary organisations as Khalsa Aid on Wednesday set up a ‘Kisan Mall’ at the border to provide farmers items of daily use for free.
The mall is providing blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, thermals, sweaters, jackets, vests, blankets, oil, Vaseline, socks, washing soap, bathing soap, shampoo, comb, muffler, Odomos, dry milk, sanitary pads and shoes. Heating pads, towels, ’Loai’, slippers, garbage bag, knee caps, tarpaulin, nail cutter, ENO and washing brushes are also available at the mall.
Previously stalls for relief material witnessed crowds which prevented protestors from getting the right size, while others struggled to make it due to their age.
Director of the Asia chapter of the Khalsa Aid project, Amanpreet Singh, said: “Taking note of farmers’ problem in receiving the right kind of material in the crowd, we came up with the idea of setting up a mall. The relief material which came earlier wasn’t of the specific size required by the beneficiaries. Also, there was a big section of farmers who thought it was below their dignity to join the crowd and seek help. The elderly, particularly women, found it very difficult to get the material of their choice.”
A 70-year old farmer from Barnala, Ajmer Singh, said: “I have been trying to get hold of a few blankets from many days but could not. There is a different group coming and distributing the relief material but it is not systematic. This Mall is very organized and will definitely allow farmers to stay comfortable for longer if needed.”
A student of Punjabi University, Udham Singh, said “We are providing material with help of the money that the ‘sangat’ is offering to help farmers sustain their energy for the protest. We are only giving farmers the privilege of choosing what they need.”
A young farmer from Faridkot, Sehajdeep Singh Gill, said: “We witnessed many undeserving people coming and grabbing the relief material. We have now started the system of going to the camps ourselves and giving tokens to farmers. These farmers come to our mall and fill a form to list their requirements which are provided on the spot. It is helping the aid to reach the right people.”