With their livelihoods upended, several victims of the Northeast Delhi riots, who are struggling for a dignified existence, appealed to the Delhi government Saturday to speed up the compensation process. The government, on its part, maintains that till March 7, it had disbursed Rs 2.96 crore in compensation. The amount factors in immediate assistance of up to Rs 25,000 that every riot-hit family is entitled to.
Officials present at review meetings said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is learnt to have pulled up a few officers after he found their efforts waning. “The Deputy CM told the officers that rather than saving the government’s money, the need to assist people in distress and providing the maximum possible aid should be their priority at this moment. No laxity will be tolerated,” officials said.
A two-day special drive was also launched by the government Saturday to verify the total damage claims made by such families in assistance forms, which were made available through teams led by sub-divisional magistrates.
As per official data, 46 out of 97 claims relating to completely destroyed homes have been addressed in the form of immediate assistance, while the 477 claims pertaining to damages of shops have not been addressed yet.
However, in most cases, such is the extent of destruction that the immediate assistance amount will not cover the repair cost of even a room, let alone helping an individual restart his business. And in cases of commercial establishments, immediate assistance is yet to be released.
Haji Ajmeri Malik, whose footwear showroom and house in Brijpuri was torched by arsonists, leaving it completely gutted, said he has incurred losses of around Rs 60 lakh.
“My showroom was the biggest footwear shop in the area. Now it is beyond recognition. I submitted the damage forms in the DM office last week. So far, I have received Rs 25,000 as immediate assistance for the damaged house. I am staying at my brother’s place now,” he said.
A few metres away stands Rohit Kapoor’s grocery shop, which was also targeted by rioters. “I submitted the forms last week. Ek paisa nahi mila abhi tak. This is the only source of income for our family of six,” Kapoor said.
On Friday, taking cognizance of social media posts about the plight of around 16 families belonging to the lohar community, immediate assistance amount was extended to them. They were residing in a slum in the Shiv Vihar Tiraha area.
In a statement, the government also shared the first-hand experiences of a few victims, including that of one Anarkali, also a resident of Shiv Vihar Tiraha. “We were surrounded by people from all ends and did not have anywhere to go. The Delhi government has provided our family an immediate compensation of Rs 25,000 for rehabilitation,” she was quoted as having said.
The government has promised to extend compensation up to Rs 10 lakh in cases of deaths, Rs 5 lakh for permanent incapacitation, Rs 2 lakh for serious injuries, Rs 20,000 for minor injuries, Rs 5,000 for animal loss. In cases of damages to residential units, up to Rs 5 lakh will be extended for every affected floor.