Unhygienic conditions at Singhu border making protesting farmers sick
Braving the chilly winter, hundreds of farmers have been camping at the Singhu border for days, to protest against three controversial laws. While they have claimed they would not move until the government revokes the reforms, the filthy condition of the protest site is making them sick. Farmers have been getting skin allergies and gastrointestinal disorders, like diarrhea, a TOI report claimed.
Carrying warm clothes, and ration for months, farmers have been sitting at the site to force the Centre to repeal the laws, which the government argues will increase their income. Five rounds of talks didn't yield the desired results and another one is scheduled for Wednesday. While the Centre is ready to give written assurance on MSPs, it's not considering abrogating the laws.
Unsurprisingly, the protest site has its own set of problems. There aren't many toilets and a lot of garbage is dumped on the street. Though farmers and volunteers clean the garbage every morning, the pile grows larger as the day passes, because a number of langars are organized. Some residents have opened their toilets for farmers, but that's clearly not enough.
Dr. Davinder Kaur, who works with an NGO that has been present at the site for nearly a week, said about 500 patients come daily. "Skin allergies, including itching and fungal infection, are common due to unhygienic conditions and mass gathering. Vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and hyperacidity are other common ailments among the farmers," Dr. Kaur told the daily.
Another doctor, Dr. Harmanpreet Singh from Patiala, said skin allergies and fungal infections were spreading because hundreds of farmers have gathered. "Besides, change of place, food, and weather have also affected their health," he said, adding that some complained of body ache because they are sleeping uncomfortably. He said no one complained of coronavirus-linked symptoms, till now.
Separately, Dr. Jitendra Sharma, from Zirakpur, said many farmers suffer from diabetes and hypertension and approach him for medicines. Reportedly, two farmers have died till now. Despite the serious threat to their lives, farmers have declared they won't move till laws are abolished. Earlier, the Centre also asked farmers to take their protest to Burari ground in Delhi, but they outrightly refused.