Dr Alka Chaudhary, 48, has been working in the city’s first mohalla clinic in Peera Garhi.
Dr Alka Chaudhary, 48, has been working in the city’s first mohalla clinic in Peera Garhi.

Dr Alka Chaudhari: When she’s not treating patients, the ‘doktarni’ at Delhi’s first mohalla clinic feeds families of 35 daily-wagers

However, after speaking to the families in the area and the ASHA workers under her, she realised there was a problem.
By Anonna Dutt | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 02, 2020 02:50 AM IST

Dr Alka Chaudhary, 48, has been working in the city’s first mohalla clinic in Peera Garhi since it started five years ago. In that time, she has grown to know each and every family in the neighbourhood, where she is referred to as ‘doktarni’. Her patients visit her with all their problems, which range from fever, cough and cold, to family disputes.

So it was natural for them to come to her when the government first announced the biggest lockdown in the world to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in March.

“Soon after the lockdown in March, this boy Imtiaz came to me and said, Doktarni, help me get to my village. He said, there is no work and why should we stay here and go hungry? This is a slum area and most people are daily wagers – some are rickshaw pullers, others carpenters and plumbers – all their livelihoods have been severely impacted. But I told him it wasn’t safe to travel and the government was making arrangements for food,” said Chaudhary.

However, after speaking to the families in the area and the ASHA workers under her, she realised there was a problem. They were getting food twice a day through the government’s food distribution drive, but most did not get any dry ration as they did not have Delhi ration cards.

“I realised two meals a day are just not enough when there are children in the house. Children, especially the very young ones, asked for food during the day. So, I thought I should give whatever I can,” she said.

Dr Chaudhary got some grocery from her house to give the first family in March, and has since taken 35 families under her wing. One of the families is of Karn, who had come to her two weeks ago looking emaciated.

“He was this tall guy, but weighed no more than 30 kg. He was collapsing; he had no strength. A test report he had got from some private clinic showed that his blood sugar levels were 406 (normal levels are about 140 mg/dL after eating),” said Alka.

She immediately went to the local police station and asked for their help to hire an e-rickshaw to get the man to a hospital. On Thursday, he came to meet her and thank her for her help.

“I have made packets of weekly supplies. I have also fixed a milkman for some of these families that have very young children. I pay the man at the end of the month. I cannot do this on my own and I have asked my family to help out. I have told those in corporate jobs to give me some money, anything that they would donate to temples or other causes. I have told them that it would go to the needy,” she said. She has also been helping people with filling out the ration coupon forms on her phone.

Her family understands what she does, but is still bothered by her routine. Every afternoon, after finishing up at her clinic, she goes to the nearby areas to speak to the people and check how they are doing.

“My mother asks me whether I would get an award for doing this, she asks me to wear the neela thaila as she refers to the PPE kits. She is very disappointed that I do not get it. My sister says that she prays that I get wise and my niece tells me that I should get a room in the jugghi itself. One of the nurses jokes that we should just put Fevicol on madam’s chair so she can’t leave,” said Dr Chaudhry. Adding to the worries of her family, she is a diabetic herself.

She moved out of the house where her elderly in-laws live since the Covid-19 outbreak started. She lives with her husband. Her in-laws still do not know that she goes to the slum area after her clinic.

Whenever someone comes to her, she tells them about the invisible enemy and explains why they should remain indoors. “But they live in small houses without much ventilation. It is not possible to stay indoors throughout the day. So I tell them when you feel like stepping out, at least cover your nose and mouth with a dupatta and sit at a distance from your friends,” she said. She took the help of some of the local boys to put on a small skit, where they dressed up as ‘Yamraaj’ and explained how people will die if social distancing was not followed.

“If I did not tell them what social distancing was and why they needed to follow it, who would? Because they do not see people dropping dead, they do not understand why there should be a lockdown and why they should stay at home” she said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
On Thursday, the overall AQI of Delhi was 296, in the “poor” zone. (Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
On Thursday, the overall AQI of Delhi was 296, in the “poor” zone. (Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)

Delhi’s air quality deteriorates further, marginal improvement expected tomorrow

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:13 AM IST
Union ministry of earth science’s air quality monitoring centre Safar said that the surface winds on Thursday were southwesterly and will slow down on Friday leading to deterioration in pollution
Close
Farmers sit next to a bonfire during their protest against farm law, at the Ghazipur border in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI)
Farmers sit next to a bonfire during their protest against farm law, at the Ghazipur border in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI)

Farmers’ protest: Delhi’s borders with Haryana, UP continue to be impacted

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:11 AM IST
In all, ten border points affected; Delhi’s borders with UP at Chilla and Ghazipur have remained closed for those coming from Noida and Ghaziabad
Close
Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in June last year.
Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in June last year.

Street in Delhi to be renamed after Sushant Singh Rajput

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:05 AM IST
Abhishek Dutt, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation's (SDMC) Congress councillor said a proposal to rename a street in Andrews Ganj after Sushant Singh Rajput has been approved.
Close
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior SDMC official said applicants will have to produce a no-objection-certificate (NOC) from the traffic department at the time of application to ensure that the cart or food truck will not hinder traffic movement in the area.(Representative image)
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior SDMC official said applicants will have to produce a no-objection-certificate (NOC) from the traffic department at the time of application to ensure that the cart or food truck will not hinder traffic movement in the area.(Representative image)

South corp to cap food carts at 5 per ward, issue licences

By Ashish Mishra
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:01 AM IST
The opposition AAP criticised the move, saying the scheme will lead to chaos on roads. The SDMC House passed the proposal on Thursday, with the officials saying that a policy will be drafted to fix licence fee and lay down other modalities.
Close
Other roads will be open for regular traffic although there will be restrictions on buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis in certain parts on New Delhi area on Saturday morning until afternoon.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Other roads will be open for regular traffic although there will be restrictions on buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis in certain parts on New Delhi area on Saturday morning until afternoon.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Traffic to be restricted in New Delhi from Friday evening to Saturday noon

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 07:57 AM IST
The Republic Day rehearsal is scheduled from 9.50am until noon on Saturday and the parade will begin from Vijay Chowk and end at the National Stadium after passing through Rajpath, Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate and Tilak Marg Radial Road.
Close
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Gupta said, “ <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>26,000 crore was transferred from Delhi government’s account to DJB’s accounts in the last five years, but the government is not ready to give any account for this amount.”(PTI)
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Gupta said, “ 26,000 crore was transferred from Delhi government’s account to DJB’s accounts in the last five years, but the government is not ready to give any account for this amount.”(PTI)

AAP, BJP spar over allegations of financial irregularities

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 07:53 AM IST
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta claimed unaccounted funds of 26,000 crore in the water utility, the AAP hit back saying the allegation was completely “bogus and frivolous”.
Close
The petitioner, Gaganmeet Singh, Director of Beoworld Pvt Ltd, was represented through Advocate Vijay Aggarwal who argued before Justice Yogesh Khanna that an accused cannot be made to join the investigation at a place beyond the jurisdiction of the police/investigating agency, whereas in the present case the police/investigating agency is in Mumbai and the petitioner is a resident of Delhi.(HT Archive)
The petitioner, Gaganmeet Singh, Director of Beoworld Pvt Ltd, was represented through Advocate Vijay Aggarwal who argued before Justice Yogesh Khanna that an accused cannot be made to join the investigation at a place beyond the jurisdiction of the police/investigating agency, whereas in the present case the police/investigating agency is in Mumbai and the petitioner is a resident of Delhi.(HT Archive)

HC to examine if accused can be called by cops in another jurisdiction, state

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:26 AM IST
Aggarwal argued that the accused cannot be called by the investigating officer beyond the jurisdiction of his police station or an adjoining police station.
Close
Surrounded by groceries and snack joints, the well is nevertheless nestled within a vibrant social life.
Surrounded by groceries and snack joints, the well is nevertheless nestled within a vibrant social life.

Delhiwale: Beyond the baoli, a simple well

By Mayank Austen Soofi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:27 AM IST
Delhi is well-known for its centuries old step-wells, or baolis. But in the Capital it is a rare thing to chance upon an average well, without picturesque stone steps—a well that resembles those thousands of other wells spread all over the country, in as many villages
Close
The second group set to be inoculated are front line workers – which includes the police, sanitation workers, fire officials, teachers, and staff in departments which were engaged in Covid-19 management.(HT file photo)
The second group set to be inoculated are front line workers – which includes the police, sanitation workers, fire officials, teachers, and staff in departments which were engaged in Covid-19 management.(HT file photo)

Govt will lean on its socio-economic survey to find people with comorbidities

By Abhishek Dey
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:37 AM IST
The first phase of the vaccination drive – meant for health workers—is currently underway in the city. Delhi has around 300,000 health care workers of whom 240,000 have registered for the vaccine shots.
Close
At least 22 of the 24 adverse reactions reported were minor, whereas two people needed hospitalisation. Both the people to be hospitalised had received Covaxin shots, as per data seen by HT.(HT Photo)
At least 22 of the 24 adverse reactions reported were minor, whereas two people needed hospitalisation. Both the people to be hospitalised had received Covaxin shots, as per data seen by HT.(HT Photo)

Delhi: 24 adverse reactions reported on Day 4, two require hospitalisation

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:56 AM IST
On Thursday, Delhi had witnessed its highest number of vaccinations ever since the drive started on January 16 with 73.36% or 5,942 health care workers getting inoculated.
Close
Of Delhi’s 11 districts, the highest turnout on Thursday (91.5%) was in north-east Delhi, where 183 out of 200 targeted beneficiaries were vaccinated, followed by south-east (90.88%), where 727 of 800 were given jabs.(ANI)
Of Delhi’s 11 districts, the highest turnout on Thursday (91.5%) was in north-east Delhi, where 183 out of 200 targeted beneficiaries were vaccinated, followed by south-east (90.88%), where 727 of 800 were given jabs.(ANI)

Coronavirus vaccination turnout in Delhi leaps to 73%

By Anonna Dutt, Abhishek Dey, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:50 AM IST
Officials said the 73.36% turnout, a nearly 25 percentage point increase from Wednesday was due largely to the government’s Co-WIN platform being tweaked to allow out-of-turn jabs for registered beneficiaries.
Close
In an air review meeting conducted on December 22, the commission reviewed the progress of switching over of industries operating in Delhi to PNG.(Harikrishna Katragadda/ MINT. Representative image)
In an air review meeting conducted on December 22, the commission reviewed the progress of switching over of industries operating in Delhi to PNG.(Harikrishna Katragadda/ MINT. Representative image)

All polluting industries in Delhi will likely switch to PNG by month-end: Report

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:35 AM IST
In the latest report, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) said out of the total 1,644 polluting industries identified in the national capital, 1,624 have converted to PNG, as on Thursday.
Close
MCD doctors and other staff during a protest at Civic center, in New Delhi .(ANI file photo)
MCD doctors and other staff during a protest at Civic center, in New Delhi .(ANI file photo)

Delhi HC broadside on politics in hearing on civic body funds

By Richa banka, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:26 AM IST
While directing the Delhi government to disburse to MCDs the money which was deducted against recovery of previous loans by the government to the civic bodies, the court said that the non-payment of salaries is a result of a “political slugfest.”
Close
Air quality on Sunday evening deteriorated and reached the "severe" zone according to CPCB, but improvement started early Monday as wind direction changed to northwesterly.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Air quality on Sunday evening deteriorated and reached the "severe" zone according to CPCB, but improvement started early Monday as wind direction changed to northwesterly.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Chill to replace warm, windy days in Delhi from Sunday, air remains ‘poor’

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:08 AM IST
On Thursday, the minimum temperature recorded at the Safdarjung weather station, which is considered the official marker for the city, was 7.4 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature was 22.8 degrees Celsius, which was a notch above what is considered to be the season’s normal.
Close
Sisodia, who is also the deputy chief minister of Delhi, said front-line workers, including teachers, have played a major role in the past year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.(PTI)
Sisodia, who is also the deputy chief minister of Delhi, said front-line workers, including teachers, have played a major role in the past year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.(PTI)

Sisodia requests Union education minister to extend contracts of SSA teachers

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:00 AM IST
The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a flagship programme of the government of India to support states and Union territories in developing and strengthening formal primary and upper primary education.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP