NEW DELHI: Flood-ravaged slum dwellers at the Old Yamuna bridge are staring at a bleak future even though the Yamuna is showing a receding trend in the national capital. Battling the loss of lives and property coupled with the absence of basic facilities, the slum residents are making rounds of the district administration offices to provide them something as fundamental as sanitation and electricity. Shakuruddin, who spent every penny from his savings to buy books for his LLB entrance examination, is devastated as all his textbooks and bags got washed away in the floods.
“My father is a rickshaw-puller and mother works as house help. I want to pursue law and had saved up to buy books for the entrance test. All my books and copies got washed away in the flood and that is my biggest concern right now,” the class 12 government school student said. “My brother is in class 11. Even his bags and books got washed away. Thankfully, we were able to save our identity proofs and documents,” he added.
Shakuruddin said the tents were set up by the administration on Tuesday after 10 families visited the district magistrate’s office, adding that lights inside the tents were set up Wednesday morning. “Tents were set up on Tuesday after we approached the district magistrate. Electricity was also arranged after our repeated requests. Two to three families are lodged in small tents, while four to five families are living in larger ones,” he said. “We are still facing troubles. How can so many families stay in a single tent? There are no facilities for washroom yet. All of us are defecating in the open, what other choice do we have? Supply of drinking water is also insufficient,” said another slum dweller Sabina (38).
Sandeep (40) has been living under the old Yamuna bridge for more than three decades. He fumes that no support came his way by the government until Tuesday. “Tents were finally set up Tuesday afternoon and today they have arranged lights here. But this help is coming after we suffered for around a week,” he said. Lashing out at political leaders.
Lashing out at political leaders, Sandeep said, “Nobody should come and seek votes from us next time. None of us from Seelampur will cast our votes. Every time we approach any leader, all they say is that ‘this is not our area’, then why do they come for campaigning here during elections? And how can they even have such thoughts of area divisions at a time of an emergency like this?” he rued.
“Political leaders have no compassion towards us. They only talk big when elections near,” he added. Staring at the long road to recovery, Sandeep said people like him with meagre income need a lot of money to fix the submerged houses.
“The problems are not going to end even after the water recedes. The road to recovery is too long. Most of our belongings got washed away because nobody came to evacuate us on time. We had to save our lives and had no time to move our furniture, clothes and ration,” Sandeep, who has a family of four, said. He said the recent rainfall on Monday and Tuesday has only added to their trouble.
“The clothes and mattresses that we somehow managed to pull out from the submerged houses had almost dried up by Sunday until rain showed up again,” he said. A widow, Bimla (52), who is nursing a fractured leg, complained about lack of washroom facility in the area despite multiple requests to the administration. “I have been living in the area since the last 40 years, but never faced this kind of a situation before, ” she added.
BJP gives ration to flood-affected Pak Hindu refugees
The BJP on Wednesday distributed a month’s ration to refugee families from Pakistan suffering hardship due to the floods in Delhi. Virendra Sachdeva, the BJP’s Delhi unit president, and MP Manoj Tiwari distributed the ration to around 300 refugee families living for years at Majnu Ka Tila, it said in a statement. “The Delhi government has taken no measure to help the Hindu refugees from Pakistan living here at Majnu Ka Tila for the last seven-eight years. It is very regrettable that even today the camp of refugees is flooded,” Sachdeva said. Workers from the Mahila Morcha, led by its Delhi unit chief Yogita Singh, distributed sarees and sanitary pads to a large number of women and girls at a flood-relief camp in Mayur Vihar, the statement said.