With the summer at its peak, the availability of milk for consumption of protesting farmers has gone down. They have now resorted to collecting the dairy product from other villages.
Why the shortage?
Komaldeep Singh Cheema, a resident of Doaba, has been a part of the protest since the beginning. He said because of summers, the cattle are producing less milk and is leading to a limited supply from Haryana. As a result, Mr. Cheema and a few others from the district, have decided to collect milk for the consumption of farmers at the protest.
“Those from Punjab don’t prefer packaged or powdered milk. Most of them fall sick if they consume it. This essentially has made us decide to take up this initiative,” he said.
Mr. Komaldeep said announcements are being made in five villages since June 2, asking people to donate milk for the protesters. “Some people gave a litre while others gave 2. Some even donated litres, and some gave a bucket full of milk. In one of the five villages, people donated more than 450 litres,” he added.
Milk collected over four days was kept in an ice-making unit for preservation. The group then started for Singhu border from Doaba on June 6. “We finally collected 750 litres, put it in a water tanker with lots of ice, and covered it with wet sacks,” he said.
At the protest site, they drive across the lengthy stretch distributing milk to people and those running langar services. The kheer langar, which was running for months, stopped a while ago because of milk shortage and also the dishes being perishable.
The group made two rounds from the villages to Singhu and is set to make its third round to the protest site. Mr. Komaldeep said that after she shared his initiative on social media, people from Canada and the UK have called him to extend help.
Help pours in
“A man called me from the UK and asked how we were transporting the milk. When I explained we were taking it in water tankers, he said he’ll send ₹1.5 lakh for a special tanker to be built for milk. Another person called from Canada and extended help for unlimited petrol for the journey,” Mr. Cheema said.
Another initiative taken at the protest site is Kisan Express, a trolley fitted with seats for people to be transported from their lodging to the stage. The initiative was taken by Life Care Foundation, Kisan Aid, and Swach Kisan Morcha.
“The reason Kisan Express has been started is to increase the number of people coming to the stage area. Because of heat and mostly the elderly staying here, it became important for them to have a vehicle for commute,” said Avtar Singh, who runs a makeshift hospital at the protest site. He added that the battery rickshaw was proving to be expensive and less efficient.