Updated: June 3, 2021 10:07:03 am
On Wednesday, volunteers at a Delhi government school served cooked meals to over a hundred labourers and construction workers in Central Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar, where they had gathered in hopes of finding work.
At Government Girls Secondary School in Deputy Ganj, volunteers from Aam Aadmi Party said they distribute food in the morning and afternoon while also running a vaccination drive inside the school.
At 11 am, a food truck arrived outside the school to deliver 5-7 large boxes of rice and daal. The volunteers placed the boxes on a table outside the school as people queued up for food.
Sadiq Khan (47), a construction worker, said he lives with his wife and daughter near a railway track in Old Delhi. His family sent him with two tiffin boxes to collect food for three.
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“My employers have still not called me for work. When the lockdown was announced, my family and I went to the bus stand to catch a bus for Lucknow but all vehicles were full. We thought we could stay here for some time but we regret it now. We ran out of money and ration in 3-4 days. Since then, I have been going to homeless shelters and schools to get food for us. My wife will come here (school) at 5 pm to collect more food,” said Khan.
In the morning, the school serves food to over 150 people. Nitin Rathore, an AAP worker, said more people have joined the food line in the last few days.
“Earlier, 50-70 people each came during lunchtime and dinner for rice and curry. Now, we serve around 150 people each in the morning and at night,” said Rathore.
Manu (50), who works at a utensils shop in the area and lives with his family in Motia Khan, came to Chandni Chowk to check if his shop had opened. Disappointed, he took two poly bags and joined the food line.
“My father came from UP and settled in Delhi almost 60 years ago. This place is my home now. Even during the lockdown, my family and I couldn’t leave because we didn’t have money for travelling and didn’t expect to find jobs in our hometown. We eat curry and roti with our neighbors, who also help us with ration. Today I will take food for everyone. I don’t think work will resume soon. It’s best to come here and take food,” said Manu. As he was late, he was only given food for three people.
Most of the people in the line complained that their employers didn’t help them financially during the first and the second lockdowns.
Shiv Kumar (40), who works as a construction worker in Noida, came to Delhi in search of work and eventually went to a food line with his friends, who came on bikes and took food in steel containers and poly bags.
“I call my employer every day and ask for money but he doesn’t help. I have three sons, and I am the breadwinner. My wife lost her job before the lockdown last year. Since then she has been taking care of our children. We don’t have a cooking gas connection at our home and were dependent on our employers who gave us food. Now, we roam around and look for food lines in Delhi and Noida. There is no work here… I will take some curry for my wife and our sons. They have some rotis,” said Kumar.
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