City’s poor wait for food and CM’s scheme to reach them


Delhi food rights group writes to Kejriwal raising concerns over date of roll-out

Gautam Giri, a resident of a slum cluster in Malviya Nagar, has been hit by the pandemic in more than one way. While he lost his job during the nationwide lockdown in 2020, the past month has been especially difficult after he lost his mother — the sole breadwinner of the family.

Ensuring meals for the family has proved to be a difficult task during the current lockdown, he said.

“Currently, I am dependent on my friends who have graciously agreed to help us. There is no existence of ‘cash’ in my life at this point. My mother was the sole earner in the family, but she succumbed to COVID-19. Now, I do not know how to sustain my family,” he added.

‘No milk for toddler’

“For the past month, I have not even been able to buy milk for my 18-month-old child. I cannot put into words how we are trying to sustain ourselves ,” said Mr. Giri. Over the week after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the distribution of ration to non-cardholders, several people complained of benefits not having reached them yet.

Noting that over 69 lakh people who did not possess ration cards had registered last year for the scheme, the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyaan (DRRAA) in its letter to the Chief Minister on Friday said, “The guidelines state that in the initial phase of distribution, grains will be provided to two lakh beneficiaries and later as per demand and need assessment from the field, up to the maximum of 20 lakh beneficiaries. This is grossly inadequate.” While welcoming the move on May 25, the DRRAA on Friday also said it was concerning that no date had been provided as to when the scheme would be rolled out.

Nazia Khatun, who works as a domestic help in the city said, “I have a family of six to feed. At present, we can eat only one meal a day. I am also required to pay ₹5,000 as rent. Where am I supposed to get the money from? What has the government done in this entire lockdown period for the poor?” For Santoshi Mandal, another domestic worker who has lived alone in the Capital for over a decade, meals sometimes mean only puffed rice.

“I had returned from my hometown three months back. I am sustaining myself from whatever little grains I brought back at that time. The employers have said that they will not pay for the one month that we could not work due to the lockdown. If we receive aid from the government, it will ease our problems to a great extent,” said Ms. Mandal.

For Rani (65), who lives with two of her minor grandchildren, depending on neighbours is the only way to ensure daily meals, she said. “There is nobody else in my family to look after us. We are completely dependent on neighbours. Whatever little they can provide, we divide it. If they don’t do that on a particular day, we have nothing to eat,” said Ms. Rani.



This article was originally published on The Hindu

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