Sitting on the benches laid haphazardly under a tree at a Municipal Corporation of Gurugram-run night shelter at Bheem Nagar here on Thursday afternoon, around 40-odd people, all daily-wagers, have not had meals for the last two days.
I brought rice for 200 two days ago. We all cooked and shared, said Bablu, 48. He claimed that many of them have not had food for even longer. The work stopped around five days before the peoples curfew. After the curbs on Monday, the police did not allow us to stand at Labour Chowk, added Bablu, who had migrated from Bihar a decade ago and is a regular to the night shelter.
The inmates claimed that most of them were daily-wagers going to Bhuteshwar Mandir Labour Chowk everyday and somehow making a living before the restrictions were imposed.
Dhara, a scavenger, said that he was managing the meals helped by the scrap-dealers known to him. But it was now getting difficult. Earlier, we got free meals at gurdwaras and mandirs, but now they have also been shut. There is no help from the administration either. We will die of hunger before we are infected by the deadly virus, said Ashish, 26.
Dashrath said even the local residents in the locality were not helping. He said that some of them had gone out begging for food last night, but returned empty handed. The police do not allow us to step outside. There are no means to go back to our village. We are stuck, said Dasrath.
Rajesh, 53, had cough and fever. He said he did not have money for medicines. I am managing with tea and biscuits offered by the guard for the last two days, said Rajesh.
Inder Kumar, a guard at another night shelter in Kadipur, said the facility was ready, but not formally taken over by the MCG and therefore, he had stopped allowing anyone inside. It has space for around 100 people, but it got ready in January only. Not many people know about it. Only a dozen people were coming for night stay. But now I have been told by my company, who constructed the shelter, to not to allow anyone. The MCG should take it over first, said Inder.
The other two facilities of the MCG at Rajiv Chowk and Mahabir Chowk, running from porta cabins were locked.
Gurugram Red Cross secretary Mahesh Gupta said they had identified 32 locations, all slums, across the city to provide food to the poor from Thursday. He said that a kitchen was set up at the office of Red Cross in Chandan Nagar and food supplied with the help of the volunteers. However, most of our regular volunteers, above 50 years, had made themselves unavailable saying that they were at greater risk if infected, said Mr. Gupta.