Covid-19: Noida residents allege essential goods delivery not on track
A section of Noida residents alleged on Thursday that the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration was not able to ensure doorstep delivery of essential commodities in 22 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) hot spots, but authorities tried to allay concerns and appealed to citizens not to panic.
In these places, which were sealed by the authorities on Wednesday midnight, people are not allowed to go out on even to buy groceries or vegetables even as the administration says all essentials will be home-delivered.
On Thursday morning, the district administration released a list of dedicated suppliers of milk, vegetables, fruits, and medicines to each of the 34 localities where the 22 hot spots are located.
In neighbourhoods adjacent to the district magistrate (DM)’s camp office, which included upscale Sectors 27 and 28, chaos reigned supreme on Thursday. Vinod Kumar, a resident of Sector 27, said 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 he couldn’t get any green vegetable for his diabetic father. “I was worried about how can my father eat his lunch, as only potatoes were left at home. Fortunately, my neighbour gave me some bitter gourd and capsicum,” he said.
HT tried to verify the Sectors 27 and 28 residents’ complaints and called up the vendor on his mobile phone, which was switched off till the time of filing this report.
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).”
The designated supplier for Logix Blossom County and Paras Tierea in Sector 137 and Wazidpur village in Sector 135, didn’t answer calls.
Supreme Court advocate Abhinav Ramkrishna, who lives 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 time frame. The idea of social distancing will go for a toss if few hundreds of people gather near the gate to buy vegetables together.”
High-rises apart, the situation was equally bad in Wazidpur village, another hot spot area in the district. Sushil Kumar, a carpenter and a resident of Wazidpur village, said his family has run out of rice, as the last stock was exhausted during Thursday’s lunch. “When my seven-year-old son asked me what will be there for this evening’s dinner, I asked him to have faith in God. We’re left 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 hotspots of Sectors 27 and 28, and the residents have chosen the Gandhian way of protest to go on a mass fast, albeit for half-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 token protest against the district administration,” he said.
Dilkhus Pandit, a plumber living in the same colony, questioned the district administration. “How can we get these vendors to deliver essential suppliers to us when they never answer their calls?” he asked.
In non-hot spot areas such as Shahdara village in Sector 142, workers engaged in unorganised sectors also didn’t have any access to 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 hot spot.
“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.
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. Additional chief executive officer of Noida Authority is identifying the spots, where meals will be delivered soon,” he said.