People who had gathered outside the municipal school in Prem Nagar, West Delhi, which was functioning as Delhi government’s ration distribution centre, pelted stones at the gate after finding out that food grain was not being distributed.
Principal of the school, Mahavir Gupta, said, “Ration distribution was not to be done today as Thursday was reserved for paper work. We had posted a note at the gate. For the past three days, supplies have not been available, but fresh stock came on Wednesday evening and was supposed to be distributed Friday onwards. We informed people, but they kept arguing for hours and later pelted stones. Police had to be called to control the situation.”
This is not the first time that people have turned unruly after waiting for ration outside schools, most of which have either been turned into food or ration distribution centres since the lockdown. Teachers have been at the forefront of distribution efforts.
North MCD commissioner Varsha Joshi said, “We are writing to the Food and Civil Supplies department. Senior municipal officials have been taking up issues faced by teachers on duty with their counterparts in the department.”
A police officer said a call about a scuffle was made and the matter was resolved after police personnel were deployed.
A Delhi government spokesperson said, “We will examine the matter and ensure appropriate supplies reach the centre immediately. So far, the government has provided ration to around 25 lakh people not holding PDS cards through the e-coupon system in the first round. Around 71 lakh PDS beneficiaries have also been provided their share of allotment. We will begin the second round of disbursal for non-PDS beneficiaries in the next few days.”
The Delhi government has been distributing free ration to those who have cards, and for those who don’t using an e-coupon system. Complaints of ration running out, however, have been received from many schools.
Additional commissioner of North DMC Naina Soin Kapil Thursday wrote to the secretary cum commissioner of the Food and Civil Supplies department, stating that the crowd became unruly after finding out that ration was not available. Civil defence volunteers were outnumbered, she said.
Similar incidents have taken place in centres at Adarsh Nagar, Mangolpuri and Sultanpuri in the past, she said. In the letter, she pointed out that coupons issued per day are disproportionate to the ration stock or coupons are issued despite ration being unavailable.
She said this leads to long queues, which brews discontent among people. She has asked that the number of centres at sensitive locations be increased.
Two incidents had also taken place on Monday in South and East Delhi. School Inspector Ram Dyal said a large crowd of people wanting ration had gathered at the MCD Primary School near Tigri and started arguing with teachers. Another incident took place at a school in Bhikam Singh Colony in East Delhi, where people got into an argument with teachers after ration stock ran out.
Ram Niwas Solanki, general secretary of the Municipal Corporation Teachers’ Association, said he has written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ensure the security of teachers. He also asked that teachers be tested for Covid-19 as they are living in a vulnerable environment.
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