Situation of Gurgaon workers worsened after the announcement of Lockdown 2.0, shows a rapid assessment survey
-Press release by Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch dated 26th April, 2020
A large number of civil society organisations came forward to respond quickly to the lockdown-induced hunger crisis among the informal sector workers in Gurgaon. Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch (GNEM), an organisation working among the unorganised workers, started distributing an average of 350 ration kits per day since 27th March, 2020, the third day of the lockdown, and about 25,000 cooked meals everyday since 4th April, 2020.
Additionally, GNEM responded to the SOS calls and requests made via telephones/ mobiles by workers, consolidating and sharing data related to the demands from workers with the administration and other civil society groups on a daily basis.
Analysis using time-series data from Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch’s operations in an indicative manner reveals that despite the hard work and ground-level presence of many organisations and individuals, the crisis of hunger could not be abated. A large number of early signs were missed and the government’s response was tardy despite the grim reality. Thus, a much stronger and coordinated response is required at this hour, recommends a recent report by GNEM.
The key findings of the action research report entitled ‘Taking Stock: Assessing Distribution and Distress in Gurugram during the COVID-19 Lockdown’, which has been prepared by Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch, are as follows:
1. Substantial gaps between demand and supply persist despite massive efforts: Even with nearly 10,100 ration kits delivered until 21st April, which provided food security for 40,400 people, GNEM has only been able to cater to 68 percent of those in need. They served close to 4 lakh cooked meals since the first week of April but were only able to meet 74 percent of the demand.
2. Hunger distress spiked starting mid-April when Lockdown-2.0 came into force: From an average of 8 calls received per day in the first 21 days, calls picked up went up to 60 per day after 15th of April, 2020. Lockdown extension created panic among those with no income, negligible savings and rising debt.
3. Coronavirus hotspots meticulously mapped by administration, but hunger hotspots required much more attention: Hunger hotspots like Dundahera, Sarhol, Naharpur, Manesar, Laxman Vihar, Nathupur and Khandsa emerged clearly in the GNEM data. The hunger hotspots were not specifically and systematically targeted by the administration for food relief, even while COVID hotspots were systematically tracked.
4. Unpaid salaries, failed implementation of government orders were key drivers behind the food crisis: Non-payment of wages has continued despite government orders, and this is adding additional pressure on the fragile and fragmented relief ecosystem.
5. Distress Ration Coupons announced but procedures unclear, data not made public: The process for distribution of “distress ration coupons” remains unclear and entirely opaque. This has created considerable chaos among the communities.
Please click here to access the multimedia video.
Immediate measures proposed by the GNEM rapid survey:
* Make the entire system of ration coupon distribution public
* Re-open registration for Rs 1000/- cash relief to daily wagers
* Ensure employers pay wages
* Institute bi-weekly consultations with civil society groups
* Set up a single helpline for Gurugram
* Set up a public grievance portal
For more information, please contact the following organisation and persons:
Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch
Rahul Roy (9810395589), Altaf Ahmad (9717867799), Vinita Singh (7827491915),
Twitter id: https://twitter.com/NagrikEkta
Image Courtesy: Report entitled ‘Taking Stock: Assessing Distribution and Distress in Gurugram during the COVID-19 Lockdown’