Man breathes life into ruins at Singhu, builds home for family

He had been staying in a rented bus, then shifted to a tent with family of four

Just 10 days after 35-year-old Amritpal Singh came from Hoshiarpur to the Singhu border protest site in November last year, his family followed him.

Initially, the family of four stayed in a rented bus along with another family. They later shifted to a tent.

Now, Amritpal has started rebuilding a dilapidated structure located near the protest site into a “new home”. Over the past five days, he has cleaned up the two-room building, created a bathroom space, cemented the floor, painted the walls blue, installed a bulb, and put up a trellis to keep mosquitoes away. He plans to shift to the ‘new house’ by the end of this week.

Amritpal, a cable operator and small-time financer, had come to the border on November 26. He had been living in a rented bus with his wife Rupinder Kaur, four-year-old son Elamjot and three-year-old daughter Jasgun, and another family till the first week of February.

“The rent was expensive so the elders decided to send it back,” he said. Since then, the four of them have been living in a tent where the bus was earlier parked.

A few days ago, Mr. Singh spotted the dilapidated structure and decided to rebuild it, essentially to safeguard his children from the heat and mosquitoes.

“We have a table fan as the tent gets hot. At night, we fight mosquitoes. We are worried that the children might fall sick,” he said.

Recalling an incident when he first arrived at the site, he said that a grocery store owner offered him a place to stay above his shop but he had refused.

“I had told them that we are here to stay on the roads, but now we are worried about our children’s health,” he said, adding: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” He plans to keep one room for his family and the other for anyone who might need it. He also plans to instal an air conditioner.

Nearby school

With no plans to return home till the three contentious farm laws are repealed, the family has been looking for a school for their son. “We had gone to a private school. They told us admissions are in April. If the decision [on farm laws] does not go in our favour by then, we will get Elamjot enrolled in a school here,” said Rupinder.

Monday was Jasgun’s birthday, but the family said it wishes to cut a cake in the “new house”.

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