People cry foul in Noida hot spots as administration fails to deliver essential goods at home on Day 1 of sealing - Hindustan Times
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People cry foul in Noida hot spots as administration fails to deliver essential goods at home on Day 1 of sealing

Hindustan Times. Noida | BySanjeev K Jha
Apr 10, 2020 02:35 PM IST

In non-hotspot areas such as Shahdara village in Sector 142, workers engaged in unorganised sectors were also denied groceries and vegetables.

The Gautam Budh Nagar district administration’s promises of ensuring the doorstep delivery of essential commodities to people living in 22 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) hot spots or containment clusters, which were sealed by the authorities from Wednesday night till April 15, rang hollow, as residents encountered enormous difficulties in sourcing the ingredients for one square meal on Thursday, the first day of the complete lockdown.

On Thursday morning, the district administration released a list of dedicated suppliers of milk, vegetables, fruits, and medicines to each of the 34 localities that come under the purview of these hot spots.(HT file photo. Representative image)
On Thursday morning, the district administration released a list of dedicated suppliers of milk, vegetables, fruits, and medicines to each of the 34 localities that come under the purview of these hot spots.(HT file photo. Representative image)

On Thursday morning, the district administration released a list of dedicated suppliers of milk, vegetables, fruits, and medicines to each of the 34 localities that come under the purview of these hot spots.

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But, a first-hand reality check showed the vast difference between promises made and deliveries denied.

For instance, in neighbourhoods adjacent to the district magistrate’s (DM) camp office, which included the upscale sectors 27 and 28, chaos reigned supreme on Thursday. Vinod Kumar, a resident of Sector 27, said that he was unable to contact the vendor assigned for his locality. “I have run of out of milk and fruits at home. My six-year-old son is crying for bread and cheese. The vendor’s mobile phone number is switched off since morning,” he said.

Similarly, Dinesh Sharma, a resident of Sector 28, said that he couldn’t get any green vegetable for his diabetic father. “I was worried that with only potatoes left at home and how could my father eat lunch? Fortunately, my neighbour gave me some bitter gourd and capsicum to tide over the crisis,” he said.

HT tried to verify the sectors 27 and 28 residents’ complaints and called up the vendor, Viseem Subodh Imran, on his mobile phone, but it was switched off until the time of this report was filed.

Similarly, Sanjay, who goes by his first name and has been assigned by the district administration to supply goods to high-rises in ATS Dolce Zeta-1 (Greater Noida), started speaking even without listening to the queries. “Hum doodh nahin sabji supply karte hain. Kam se kam char ghante lagenge (I don’t supply milk. I only supply vegetables and it’ll take at least four hours for me to deliver).”

Kale Choudhary, the designated supplier for Logix Blossom County and Paras Tierea in Sector 137 and Wazidpur village in Sector 135, didn’t answer his phone, despite repeated attempts.

Supreme Court advocate Abhinav Ramkrishna, who lives in Omaxe Grand in Sector 93B, said, “We’ve been told by our supplier that we can buy fruits and vegetables from our apartment complex’s main gate at 5pm. Our society has 1,300 families and there will be just one seller. Imagine the inconvenience faced by hundreds of residents, as they will be queuing up to buy at the main gate within a stipulated timeframe. The idea of social distancing will go for a toss if a few hundred people gather near the gate to buy vegetables together. And, I am still unable to reason why the administration ordered the closure of the only Mother Dairy booth in the society and the medical store.”

The situation was equally bad in Wazidpur village, another hotspot in the district. Sushil Kumar, a carpenter and a resident of Wazidpur village, said that his family has run out of rice, as his last bit of stock was exhausted during Thursday’s lunch. “When my seven-year-old son asked me what we would eat at dinner, I told him to have faith in God. We’re at the mercy of the district administration since we’re holed up here,” he said.

The plight of 130-odd workers’ families, living in Harijan Basti in Sector 37, is even more deplorable. Their hutments are located around the hot spots of Sectors 27 and 28, and the residents have chosen the Gandhian way of protest to go on a mass fast, albeit for half a day, while pinning the blame on a ‘callous’ district administration.

Nitish Modi, who was working as a painter in Arun Vihar society before the ongoing nationwide 21-day lockdown started on March 25 to contain the spread of Covid-19, said both the district administration and the police authorities didn’t pay any heed to their entreaties. To make matters worse, most of the vendors said that it would take up to seven hours to get the orders delivered, he added. “All 75 workers living in this colony were on fast for half a day. Women and children, however, didn’t take part in this protest against the district administration,” he said.

Dilkhus Pandit, a plumber living in the same colony, questioned the district administration’s “cruel joke” on them. “How can we get these vendors to deliver essential suppliers to us when they never answer their calls?” he asked.

Subhas Singh of the same area also alleged that the residents of his society did not get supply despite repeated calls. “The Noida authority, administration and police must look into the issues hampering supply,” he said.

Sudarshan Awasthi, a resident of Sector 22’s A-block, which is also a hotspot, also said that many persons from his area kept calling the vendors’ numbers for supply but they refused to supply. “Then we called an integrated number advertised by the administration (18004192211). They provided a vendors’ mobile number who was assigned for hotspot areas, which are sealed. That person also refused to supply anything, saying he will not do it. Despite trying the whole day we failed to get essential goods at home. We borrowed vegetables from neighbours for today evening. Let’s see what will happen on Friday,” he said.

In non-hotspot areas such as Shahdara village in Sector 142, workers engaged in unorganised sectors were also denied groceries and vegetables. “We’re fast running out of cash. Unfortunately, none of the administrative officials has come to our village to take stock of the situation. We’ve no ration left at home. I don’t know how long will we survive amid this crisis,” said Jyoti Sahu, who works as a domestic help in a neighbouring high-rise in Sector 137, a Covid-19 hotspot.

“We called and gave our family details on the Noida authority’s hunger helpline on Monday, but no one came to deliver food till now. On Wednesday, we called emergency number 112, the police took the details and promised to visit, but no one has come yet,” she said.

Bhure and Prahlad, migrant workers who chose to stay back in Noida, echoed Jyoti.

The newly appointed DM, Suhas LY, however, allayed the harried residents’ concerns. “There is nothing to be worried about. We’re looking into the discrepancies. The additional chief executive officer of Noida authority is identifying the spots where meals will be delivered soon,” he said.

Ritu Maheshwari, the chief executive officer of Noida authority, however, claimed that designated dedicated vendors are supplying essential goods including vegetables, fruits, grocery and medicine to hotspot areas. “If there are gaps in the service line, they will be streamlined and sorted out soon,” she said.

(With inputs from Vinod Rajput)

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