With nips, tucks and lots of jazz, old tractors get a makeover for farmers’ show of strength

As the tractor parade in Delhi approaches, farmers have been rushing to get their tractors services before embarking on the journey to the national capital. There are several who have been going ahead with new modifications to their respective tractors.

The ongoing farmers’ protest has given a fillip mainly to the business of tractor spare parts dealers, mechanics, tractor modifiers during a time of the year which is otherwise considered a lean period.

As the tractor parade in Delhi approaches, farmers have been rushing to get their tractors services before embarking on the journey to the national capital. There are several who have been going ahead with new modifications to their respective tractors.

Ranjit Singh Randhawa (36) from village Ghabdan Kothi in district Sangrur is all ready to participate in the ‘tractor parade’ on Republic Day in Delhi with the 45-year-old tractor of his grandfather, which he got modified from a local dealer in Sangrur. He spent around Rs 1.50 lakh on its modification, but says that it is quite cheaper than purchasing a new tractor.

Ranjit, a graduate, along with his two brothers and father Major Singh has been farming on 50 acres of land. The two tractors of his family are already parked at Delhi’s border. Now, a 1975 model 3600 Ford tractor will reach Delhi.

“Tractor is our car and the trolley attacked with it is our house and we do not know how long we have to travel on it and living in the trolley at Delhi so some modification was necessary to keep it fully functional and little comfortable,” he said, adding that those who can afford are getting it done.

Vikramdeep Singh Sidhu and his brother Gagndeep Sidhu of Sangrur have got their 1994 model Ford tractor modified. Sidhu said that this tractor was in working condition but with modification now it has become all new and a unique piece much cheaper than the new tractor.

Sidhu has also got his own modification workshop where they are doing the modification 2-3 more tractors currently while he had got demand for modification from at least other 30 farmers.

“After seeing our tractor several people came to us to get their decades old tractor repaired and modified,” he said, adding that this will cost them less and give them a more trendy look as per their choice and will work for years now.
Sidhu added that it requires visiting 4-5 states to procure the best things for modification and it takes time.

Bahadur Singh Brar (38), another farmer from Sangrur’s Kanoi village, got new broader tyres for his tractors, fixed new LED lights, changed his steering wheel and seats, and also got a broad bumper installed with a slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ on his 55 BHP Holland tractor. He was still busy in getting the modification done on Friday evening as he had to leave for the parade on Sunday morning. Bhadur’s family owns 20 acres of land.

“I had purchased this tractor in 2017 and now I have spent Rs one lakh on it to get modified for the parade,” he said, adding that he will also take the trolley along.

“These modifications ahead of the Delhi parade have given us a lot of business and we are also doing several things free of cost,” said Preet Singh, a modifier and tractor service centre owner.

“Those who are big farmers they can afford to spend in lakhs but majority are coming to us with a demand of big bumper, broad tyres and LED lights and engraving of slogans etc. because this is giving a new look to their tractors, which have become very dear to them during this protest,” said Tony, the owner of the New Kulwant Tractor Spare and Machinery shop in Sangrur, adding that such work is done in few thousand rupees only.

“It is not because of the tractor parade that farmers are getting these modifications done. The fact is that now they have become much more attached with their land and so they are taking much care of these machines,” said farmer Jagdeep Singh from Kanoi village who is also taking his air conditioned tractor to Delhi parade which he got modified from normal to AC couple of years back.

Baldev Singh, another modifier and the owner of Malwa Tractor Workshop, Sowaddi Kalan in Ludhiana said that they have got a lot of demand, but they have closed workshops to provide free services of tractor repair at Delhi border.

“We have modified and repaired a tractor of a farmer who met with an accident and his tractor got damaged badly so we did it free of cost for him and rest all our services are going on at Delhi,” he said.

Baldev also said that a large number of youngsters are getting bumpers, flags installed on their tractors ahead of the parade.

“The local tractor rallies in Punjab have given a lot of business to the local mechanics at the village level,” said Satnam Singh, a farmer cum mechanic.

“In our area more focus is on the repair and service before going to Delhi but in other parts of the state like in Moga, Ludhiana, the young boys are getting their tractors modified by spending good amount of money but this is only being done by those who can afford and the number of such farmers is much less,” said Jagsir Singh of Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) Ugrahan.

“Earlier it was a status symbol, and now it is the honour of the farmer and they are happier travelling on it than in the cars,” said farmer Satnam Singh.

One of the Marketting officials in Sonalika International Tractors Limited, which is Hoshiarpur-based and has business in 130 countries, informed that the demand in the tractor sector has been up for the past few year and they are manufacturing all normal and AC tractors. “As for as farmers’ protest is concerned there is no major impact as such at the moment in manufacturing side,” he added.

Punjab with 1.53 per cent of the total land of the country, owns over 8% of the total tractors in the country. According to the Punjab Agriculture Department, the total number of tractors in Punjab is between 5 lakh to 5.25 lakhs. Punjab also sells the highest number of second hand tractors to other neighboring states like Haryana and Rajasthan.

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