On April 20, Arun Singh, a civil defence volunteer, worked through the day, but stayed on through the evening and single-handedly managed food at short notice for over 1,000 labourers stranded at Sector 25, Dwarka, the project site of a construction company. The 48-year old was one among the thousands of such volunteers forming the backbone of Delhi’s Covid response system.
Having tested positive for Covid earlier this month, Singh was hospitalised on July 4. He breathed his last at Dwarka’s Venkateshwar Hospital around 9.30 pm Monday.
For the last few months, Singh had been toiling for hours every day, carefully handing over packets of food along serpentine queues. Away from his wife, son, a student of Class IX, and daughter, who cleared Class XII board exams – the family could not celebrate the milestone together on Monday.
Arun Singh ji succumbed to Covid in the course of his duty, feeding thousands of people in the last 3 months.
I salute his sacrifice and offer my heartfelt condolences to his grieving family. We stand with them in their hour of need. pic.twitter.com/2rAgy2Ce9s
“He was among our most valuable staffers. He put in extraordinary efforts. Frankly, his performance was outstanding. Singh excelled at any and every task we entrusted him with. Be it distribution of food at the hunger points or work inside containment zones, he gave his 100 per cent. It is a personal loss for me,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Dwarka) Chander Shekhar told The Indian Express.
The active civil defence volunteers attached with the Delhi government, numbering around 13,000, take home around Rs 18,000 a month. “He was the lone earning member of his family. His daughter cleared her Class XII boards on Monday. What will the kids and the wife do now?” asked his brother ML Singh.
His voice choking with grief, Singh said his brother Arun had been attached with the Dwarka SDM office for the last four years. The family stays at Som Bazar Road area of Uttam Nagar.
“On April 20, the labourers had started agitating. We were made aware about the development quite late, and reached the site only around 8 pm. The initial task was cut out — to arrange food for so many people. Singh put together all the arrangements and ensured all workers were fed almost single-handedly,” Shekhar said.
The labourers were finally sent back to their destination on May 12.
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