New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) It has been 28 days since the nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but around 50-60 residents of the Chak Chila village residing in the middle of the Yamuna river on an island has not got a single supply of ration or cooked meal from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government.
The people of the village are forced to rely on the self help groups or community kitchens, who have brought cooked food or ration for them by boat.
The Chak Chila village is situated between the Yamuna river from where the Delhi-Noida-Direct flyway passes by and connects Mayur Vihar and Maharani Bagh. The village is just 7-8 kms from the Delhi Assembly. To reach the village, one first needs to reach the Yamuna Khadar and then take a boat ride from there. By boat, it takes around 10-15 minutes to reach the village depending on the wind speed and water current.
When IANS visited this village on Wednesday to take stock of their situation, Sikha Kumari, a resident of the village said, “Delhi government has not provided a single meal to us since the day lockdown was announced.” On March 23, Prime Minister Modi announced a nationwide lockdown from March 24 to April 14 to combat the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19). On April 14, he extended the lockdown by 19 more days till May 3.
She further said that the village faces the problem of drinking water and electricity supply. “And for drinking water we need to cross the river from the boat to fetch some water from nearby areas like Mayur Vihar or Okhla,” she said. She further said that one of the group has been continuously providing food to the villagers.
“They bring food everyday for us in the afternoon and they ensure that they send us more food packets so that we don’t need to cook our dinner,” she said. The village has huts made of wood and the earthen stoves in the houses have not been lit since the lockdown was announced as the money and ration with them have ended.
Another resident of the village, Sita Devi, who hails from West Bengal and has been residing here for the last 15 years said, “We are completely dependent on the people who bring food for us. No one from the Delhi government has come to provide food to us.” Pointing towards the earthen stoves she said, “we have not cooked food for last 20 days as whatever ration we had is over now. There are over 10-15 small children in this village, who need milk on daily basis but they have not got the milk either.”
Sita Devi further said that they used to work as farmers in the river bed, but as the soil turned infertile so they had started working as daily labourers. Another woman standing with her said that the government does not even provide drinking water to them. “And now we want the government to provide us some help so that we can stand back on our feet to earn and feed our family,” she added.
Sonu Pandit, who provides food to the village on daily basis said, “The cooked food which we bring here is prepared as the Sewa Kitchen run by BJP good governance cell in Mayur Vihar Phase 1.”
“Everyday around 11.30 a.m we collect the over 100 prepared food packets from the Sewa Kitchen and then we bring it here for the villagers,” he said. Pandit, who runs a cattle stable said that the Delhi government has not provided food to these people since March 24. “Even the ration or prepared meal provided by the Delhi government has been distributed on the other side of the river and not in the village inside the Yamuna river ,” he alleged.
Lamenting at the Delhi government, he said, “The Delhi government promised to provide drinking water to every household in Delhi, but the families living here are not able to fetch the drinking water and they have to travel 4-5 kms everyday from their boats to get the fresh water.”
IANS was the first to raise the issue of hundreds of migrant workers residing on Yamuna river bed in Kashmere Gate area of Delhi on April 5. Following the IANS report, the Delhi government shifted the migrant workers from the river bed on April 15. On Wednesday, the total number of Covid-19 patients in Delhi rose to 2,156 with 47 deaths and 611 cured.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])