Slum dwellers cry for help, say none came to their aid

Slum dwellers cry for help, say none came to their aid

The residents say no one has visited them to supply essential items during the curfew. Malkiat Singh

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, March 28

“The last two-time meal I and my family of eight had was on Wednesday after that the ration at home was finished and since then we are relying on food served by a nearby gurdwara. I have had no work since the curfew and do not have any ration left at home,” said 38-year-old Aakash, a daily wage construction worker who lives in a slum at the Chogitti bypass here.

Like Aakash, nearly 250 odd families of daily wage workers and domestic workers living at Chogitti, which falls in Ward No. 14 and near the Damoria flyover, says Covid-19 was not a cause of worry for them but hunger was. They say that their survival depends on their daily earnings. However, with no work at present, they are struggling for food and their lives had been adversely impacted.

“I have four children, one is two-year-old and I have no milk to feed her. I work as a domestic helper in nearby colonies and my monthly earning is hardly Rs 4,000-5,000. Since March 22, I have not going to work and have no savings left. If it continues like this, we will die,” said Shanti Devi while complaining about the area councillor and the MLA who had not visited them once to ask about their whereabouts or offer food.

Another slum dweller, Barinder Kumar, said no one from the government had come to their aid.

“We are sleeping empty stomach, living in unhygienic conditions with garbage, mosquitoes and insects all around. No disinfectant has been sprayed in our area. We request the administration to help us or else people will start falling sick here,” he said.

He said police parties who were visiting to distribute food, hardly gives eight to 10 packets and move ahead.

“For 150 families and nearly 250 persons living here, eight to 10 packets are nothing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ward No. 14 councillor Manjinder Singh Chatha said he had not received any ration supply from the government to distribute among the poor and needy. He said he had around 25 to 30 localities in his ward, hence it was difficult for him to help all of them from his own pocket.

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