Flood victims unsure about compensation    

- August 4, 2023
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

Soon after Yamuna floods led to destruction and large-scale displacement of civilians in low-lying areas, Delhi government announced a compensation of Rs 10,000 for each affected family. While many received it within two days, some are still waiting with bated breath  

Clinging to Belongings: Amid the chaos, the camp, packed to the rafters, sees people holding onto their meagre possessions, from pots and pans to clothes hanging on lines.

In a push-and-shove queue for women, under the Mayur Vihar flyover, 29-year-old Saroj is waiting for her turn to be surveyed by an NGO. 

 Two volunteers from Civil Defence, a volunteer-based emergency response group aiding the government, were carefully taking down her details, including proof of ID. The survey was regarding the distribution of ration for flood victims, said a volunteer.

 After the floods brought misery to many victims living in the low-lying areas, several NGOs sprung into action. The Delhi government has also announced a relief of Rs 10,000 for families affected by the floods in the city. While that is underway, many victims have been cut off from the benefits of compensation. 

 Saroj is one of them.

 A native of Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, she has been living in the Yamuna Khadar region for around a decade with her husband and son. However, her documents or identity proof is not Delhi-based.

“I have filled out the form, submitted a photo, a copy of my passbook, and Aadhaar, but they did not call me for verification unlike others. We are labourers. All our belongings have submerged in the flood. If we also get Rs 10,000, it will help us,” she says.

 Today, she is dependent on langar (communal meal) and help from others for basic survival.

 According to the guidelines, only those whose documents bear the address of Yamuna Khadar are eligible for compensation. 

 Many other victims, too, are waiting for their compensation. 

 Sixty-year-old Jagdish said that he submitted the form “15 days ago”.

Submerged houses: Devastated houses in Yamuna flood plain near Yamuna Bank

“They did all the inquiries, opened a new account (in camp) but till now, there is no information about it,” he said.

 Jagdish, also from UP, has been living in Khadar for over three decades and working as a tenant farmer. His 11 bigha crop got destroyed in floods. Since then, he has been living in the camp in anxiety after two of his goats were stolen.

 “Many forms have been filled, but they haven’t told us anything about the compensation. How will we believe? For this (Rs 10,000), we have completed our formalities,” he rued. 

 Chaman Prakash had a similar story to tell. He was also doing vegetable farming for close to a decade in the low-lying area of Yamuna.

 “I have submitted my documents twice but I’m still waiting for the money. I guess now, it will come when it will come,” he said.

 Civil Defence volunteers are helping victims day and night in the shift. During a shift, 15 volunteers work at Nursery Pushta. They said that they have collected the forms for compensation.

Elaborating on the process, Priyanka Sharma, the in-charge of the process, explained, “The survey for compensation has been completed and we have sent the documents to the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s office a week ago. In this survey, we counted the heads of the families and only those are eligible whose documents are of Delhi and from Khadar areas. For verification, we asked for Aadhaar, Bank details and a witness, who also should be Delhi-based. We also asked for a witness Id-card. Around 1,500 forms were collected in this area (nursery pushta) 0f Mayur Vihar. Now, the SDM office will verify it and then compensation will be transferred to the victim’s bank.”

When asked what about those who lost their documents in the flood, Patriot was told that “they are not eligible for this scheme”.

“But we try to help the people with ration, and other things. The civil society or other NGOs are also distributing it,” Priyanka said.

Many victims Patriot met, narrated the same story. 

However, 42-year-old Jaising got a message on his mobile around 1 pm on August 2 that his account was credited with Rs 10,000, but he was “uncertain” that the amount was sent from the government.

“I will go to the bank to confirm it.  I submitted my documents at DND to a Civil Defence volunteer 15 days ago. I suffered a big loss in the floods. My 18 bigha with vegetable crops were spoiled and I faced around Rs 5 lakh loss. If I get Rs 10,000, it will still be of some help at this time of crisis,” he said.

Displaced villagers have been shifted to a school that has been temporarily converted to a relief camp

Civil Defence’s Qaseem Haider, who is in-charge of Mori Gate relief camp, said, “Over 320 people of the camp were verified for compensation of Rs 10,000 here. Around 80 people are left in the camp, due to snake menace at their home in Yamuna Bazaar area. We have sent the forms to the SDM’s office. They will be verified and sent the amount. We did not find anyone whose document had drowned in the flood in this camp and all families submitted the documents. So, no window opens in this camp to make new documents as per the government announcement.”

SDM (Mayur Vihar) Sandip Dutta said, “Here, we disbursed the compensation amount to a total of 953 families on August 2. If anyone did not receive it, they should check with their banks.”

 He also confirmed that there were no issues related to documents.

“Not a single person came to us with lost documents. When we (authority) collected the documents door-to-door, no one told us about it, otherwise we would have set up a window for that. If anyone comes, then we will try to give them compensation by opening a bank account in the camp,” Dutta said.