September 27, 2016 3:32:36 am
Shyam (21), battling both chikungunya and dengue, walks gingerly along boundary walls on his way home from a private clinic in the locality. He is forced to do so because the mud road to his house is waterlogged. Shyam, who works at a water motor pump manufacturing unit in outer Delhi, has been absent from work for over a fortnight. His sister Chhaya (17) and brother Roshan (12) were the first to test positive for dengue. Their father, Chulai Prasad (55), an autorickshaw driver, too has not worked in over 15 days, busy taking care of his children.
Shyam’s elder sister, Sarita (25), who works at a mobile retail shop in Peera Garhi in west Delhi, was also forced to stay at home for nine days to take care of siblings. She recently returned to work and is now the sole breadwinner of the family living in outer district’s Bhagya Vihar bordering Rani Khera village.
The family has been laid low by mosquito-borne infections and viral flu. In trouble, they seek help from two places: the local clinic and their neighbour’s water pump.
“Each time it rains, the road is waterlogged. We have been calling the government to clear the waterlogging. However, there is no one to clear the mess. We have no choice but to use our neighbour’s water pump to remove the water, so that we can walk, at least,” says Shyam.
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His mother, Saraswati (45), says, “Go look at the number of mosquitoes breeding in front of the house. There are four houses in the lane and almost everyone has some viral infection. When we remove the water, it flows to the adjacent empty sites and, within hours, the road gets filled up again.”
Prasad says, “Chhaya and Roshan were the first to fall sick. We went to Sanjay Gandhi hospital. They told us it was fever. Three days later, their situation worsened. Then we had to go to the private local clinic, where they were tested positive for dengue.”
Prasad’s neighbour Pyare Laal often helps them clear the waterlogged street. “These houses are not even unauthorised construction. They don’t build a road and if there is waterlogging they don’t clear it,” says Laal, whose daughter, Pooja, tested positive for dengue recently.
It is the government hospital he is angry about. “Pooja had fever. We went to Sanjay Gandhi hospital. The doctors sent us back, saying she should drink goat milk. It costs us Rs 800 to just buy one litre. Nothing happened for four days. Then we had to go to a private clinic, where she tested positive for dengue,” says Laal. “Now my 3-year-old son Honey is sick. I did not even bother to take him to the government hospital.”
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