It was in early May that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced free ration for all cardholders in the capital for that month and June.
Two weeks later, that scheme was extended even to those who do not possess a valid ration card.
However, a month after the initial announcement, many of Delhi’s poor are yet to receive the promised aid.
Why is that?
CM Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government had, on May 4, announced the distribution of free ration to all cardholders for two months amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Under that scheme, around 72 lakh people in Delhi were expected to receive the aid.
Later, the Delhi government said some 20 lakh people who do not have ration cards would also be eligible to get free ration.
Many of the eligible families told ThePrint they have not received any aid as yet.
In fact, just last week, the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA), a food-security based NGO, wrote to the CM to flag the issue.
People were forced “to rely on private charities and neighbors for food and in many places people are being forced to beg,” the organization said.
Many Ration Shops Closed: Audit
A recent voluntary audit carried out by the DRRAA revealed that many of the shops visited by its volunteers were shut during the working hours. Of the 110 shops they visited across the city, only 44 were found distributing ration between May 15 and 29.
“We are a family of five, but we have no idea when the government will start distributing ration to us. We only have our Aadhaar card,” Sonu, a shopkeeper, told ThePrint.
When an NGO recently distributed ration outside a police station in Greater Kailash-1, a long queue of people stretching over two kilometers formed there, ready to wait for hours under the scorching sun.
Delhi Food Minister Imran Hussain had said on Friday the distribution would be done at 280 government schools.
When inquired about the delay, Hussain told ThePrint they expect to begin the distribution by the end of this week.
“We had selected the schools where ration was to be distributed to those without ration cards, but we are having to relocate some of these centers.
As many as 1.8 million SOS requests were received by the DRRAA in May alone, NGO member Anjali Bhardwaj said.
Delhi has been under a strict lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic since April 19, because of which many lost their jobs and daily wage, hence struggling to fill their stomachs.
A gradual reopening of the city began earlier this week.
(This is a reprint from NewsBytesApp).
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