“I hope to find some water in one of the drums. I really need to wash my clothes,” 87-year-old Kaur told IANS while readying the bundle of clothes spread on her bed.
Like Kaur, the 250 residents of Earth Saviours Foundation – an internationally recognised NGO – are facing an acute water shortage in the city’s sweltering heat. There have also been about 35 deaths here in the last few months, reportedly due to dehydration.
“This happened despite writing a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other MLAs apprising them of our woes. Our requests fell on deaf ears until recently,” Ravi Kalra, founder of the NGO told IANS, sitting inside a portacabin which was burning hot due to the scorching heat.
Kalra added that their basic demand from the government was a borewell pump. “That would help meet our water demands,” he said.
And now, with their plight finally reaching the authorities, the residents of this rescue centre-cum-old-age home located at Rangpuri Pahari in south Delhi, are hopeful that their water demands would be met.
“Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members visited us and have promised to get a borewell pump installed in the next two days. They also promised us to get a thermocol sheet covering done on the roof to reduce the heat,” Kalra said, sounding hopeful.
The other promises made included better road facilities and increased load capacity of the electricity transformer.
He added that until now it was a full-sized tanker that was helping them survive the water crisis.
Pronob Roy, who has been staying at the old-age home for a year, told IANS that while food was adequate, it was water that upset the residents’ daily routine.
“Sanitation and hygiene conditions could also be bettered,” the 66-year-old, hailing from Bengaluru, told IANS. He added that periodicals and games, too, were welcome.
Agreed Flying Officer Shiv Shankar (retired), who said that apart from better water and toilet facilities, better luggage keeping facilities and hygienic kitchen facilities would also be welcomed.
“This is so that theft of my luggage does not take place,” he told IANS.
The old-age home, which was in Vasant Kunj area of south Delhi earlier, was gutted in April 2014 when two died and nearly 30 went missing. Kalra shared that he decided to work for the society and the less-privileged after he once saw a beggar child and a dog eat out of a dump cart.
“Here people with conditions like HIV and diseases on their bodies are referred by various government hospitals and the district courts. Sometimes even the police gets people here – and the doors are open for all,” he said, adding that the place was however not for drug-addicts and beggars.