New Delhi: Babli has come to the Singhu border along with her two children, aged eight and twelve, to see a doctor at one of the medical camps attending to protesting farmers and others alike.
In an interesting turn of situation, the Delhi farmer protest scenes were seen doubling as free medical treatment centres for many from the neighouring villages.
"My elder daughter, Babita, has a cold and cough. The other, Sakshi, is very weak. My neighbour suggested that I come here," the 34-year-old resident of Kondli village said.
Over the last few days, many from her village have come to the protest site seeking free medical advice.
"The doctor has given us a cough syrup and some medicines. They also conducted a test on my younger daughter and gave iron and calcium tablets," Babli said.
Not much different was the case of Bhim Singh from Alipur. He accompanied his elderly father, Mangat Singh, suffering from severe knee pain. "My father's knees hurt a lot and his legs swell up in winters. We heard of free medical camps from someone and came here. We cannot afford costly treatment," Bhim Singh, 41, said.
According to Dr Anshuman Mitra from Kolkata-based non-profit, Medical Service Centre, there are around 12 such medical camps operational 24X7 at the Singhu border.
Doctors, nurses and paramedics at his camp, Dr Mitra said, examine around 200 people a day. Around 30 per cent of them are from poor families in neighboring villages, he said.
"Most of the cases are related to cold, cough, stomachache, skin and eye infection, allergies and general weakness," Dr Mridul Sarkar said.
The medical staff has been working round-the-clock. A large number of patients pack the camps in the afternoon. The crowd thins at night, but no one is sent back even if it is 2 am, Dr Mitra said.
There have been a few "chronic" cases, too.
Dr Davinder Kaur from Social Upliftment Movement India said her team has examined a few patients suffering from heart diseases, hypertension and hyperglycemia.
"We generally ask them to bring their prescription along, if they are already taking medicines. If not, we advise them accordingly," she said.
Almost all of the medical camps have nebulizers, automated external defibrillators, BP machines, blood sugar testing kits etc.
Most patients are aged above 50. They come with complaints of muscle pain, indigestion, acidity, cold and cough, she said.
Kaur, who came to the medical camp at 10 am, had already examined 107 patients by 3 pm.
"Around 40 per cent of these patients are from the neighbouring villages of Kondli, Singhola and Alipur," she said.
A few medical camps, including the one being run by India Youth Congress, have got an ambulance, too, in case someone needs emergency hospitalization.
Gaurav Kaushik, a volunteer at the IYC health camp, said a lot of people have been coming to camp from nearby villages for free consultation.
"We are happy to help them. Everyone is welcome," he said. Farmers have been observing 'Bharat Bandh' on Tuesday, the 13th day of their protest against the new farm laws.
Farmer leaders had on Monday appealed to their affiliates to not force anyone to observe the shut down against the three recently enacted agriculture-related laws.
Appealing to everyone to join the "symbolic" bandh, farmer leaders had said they will block key roads during their ''chakka jam'' from 11 am to 3 pm as part of their stir, which has drawn people from northern states especially Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
(Based on PTI feed with minor edits)