Delhi

Many in the Capital forced to sleep on an empty stomach

Scores of people living in the national capital complained of having to go without a proper meal for days together and being dependent on neighbours for basic sustenance as they do not have a ration card.

During an online public meeting organised by the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA) on Monday, the homeless, those living in shelter homes, and people who lost their jobs during the lockdown, said access to foodgrains remained difficult as there were too many hurdles to get a ration card. Some said they were forced to beg for money and food.

Babli, a resident of Jagadamba camp, said: “I lost my job during the lockdown and there was a point when I was unable to pay rent for around five months. The children get ₹74 per month from the government, but how is that enough to last one whole month? Where do we get the money from? We cannot even afford to buy milk to have a cup of tea.”

DUSIB chief engineer S.K. Mahajan, who was present at the meeting, said the grievances would be conveyed to the Food Commissioner.

“As for the homeless, we will soon start providing breakfast at night shelters where occupants already get cooked mean twice a day,” he added.

Heavy debt

Many rued they were under heavy debt. Yashoda, a domestic help who lost her job during the lockdown, said: “I have not been able to pay rent for the last two months as my husband also lost his job. We have three children to look after, they are not even getting their mid-day meals these days. Currently, we have a debt of nearly ₹50,000 and we do not know where to go.”

“During the lockdown period, we got ration just twice. It is not even possible for us to return to our village. We would not have come here [Delhi] in the first place if we had enough opportunities back home,” she added.

Several people also recounted how children have been forced to take up odd jobs to sustain families.

Rani, another resident of Jagadamba camp, said: “Both my husband and son have passed away and my daughter-in-law left us, leaving her two children behind. With no ration card, I am now dependent on neighbours for basic sustenance. Some days we have to go to bed hungry. My 13-year-old grandson started collecting scrap from garbage so that he could sell them and bring home some money. With the e-coupons, we got ration once during the lockdown, but nothing since then.”

A resident of a shelter home near Connaught Place pointed out how they were asked to provide witnesses and electricity bills to support their application for ration cards.

Anjali Bharadwaj of the DRRAA demanded that temporary ration cards be provided to those not included under the public distribution system.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 3:51:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/many-in-the-capital-forced-to-sleep-on-an-empty-stomach/article33216848.ece

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