Ujjwal Agarwal for BeyondHeadlines
More than 250 shanties were destroyed and over 1,000 men, women, and children were left homeless on January (date) after a massive fire broke in the slums housing the scrap dealers in Sarfabad village of Noida Sector 73
The fire got massive around 2.45 am, also left 30-year-old Monirul Dafadar and his 6-year-old son Sanil Dafadar, natives of West Bengal, with serious burn injuries on their backs, besides destroying goods worth six lakh rupees.
According to residents, who are migrants from West Bengal said that the fire started from one of the shanties situated in a corner of the colony and soon spread across the area. They do not have any clue about what caused the fire. They claimed that the local police officer had informed the fire station immediately but the fire tenders reached the spot by 4 am, an hour after a call was made. By then, the fire had consumed the entire slum.
“The fire started from the shanty of Norzul, a scrap dealer, who is currently in West Bengal. His house was locked,” said Aroz Khan, a contractor, who informally runs the scrap business in the makeshift colony.
“Over 1,000 people were rushed into a nearby under-construction building in Sarfabad even as some went back to collect their belongings. We had huge stacks of scrap including plastic and glass bottles and other waste kept in the dwelling and they were all destroyed. I lost cash worth Rs 13-14 lakh which I had kept to pay the scrap dealers,” he added.
According to Khan, the migrants are living in this village for many years but such tragedy has never befallen on them before. According to him the men in the village worked as drivers, car washers, watchman, masons whereas the women worked as domestic helpers in the homes of the nearby housing apartments.
According to the scrap dealers, the contractor made the call to the Congress party head office for help but there was no response from their end. Finding them helpless, he also called the head office of the Trinamool Congress but only to return dejected. There were several NGO’s that have helped these local scrap dealers with daily-use items like bucket, utensils, soaps, and others. HCL also provided these helpless people with blankets and food items.
Currently, the main problem with these people is that they do not have the tins to make a shelter for themselves. They have lost all their utensils in the fire forcing them to cook and sleep under the open sky. The local residents have helped them in ample amount where the women work as helpers in terms of money and clothes.
The fire victims are outraged at the local officials and the government for extending no help to them. According to them, the government is habitual of making false promises during elections, be it Congress or the BJP.
“During elections the political parties make fake promises to repay their transportation cost and provide them with a better life but after they vote neither are they reimbursed with the transportation cost nor does their life get better in any way,” said the local scrap.
Students and teachers of Amity University have also decided to carry out a campaign called Uttarayan 2019, where they shall organize several activities collect funds from them and buy new clothes, blankets, and utensils.
Kitty Mukherjee, who is an assistant professor at the university came up with this idea.
“We live in a world where all men and women are our brothers and sisters and at the time of tragedies. We cannot step back criticizing the system for being helpless rather we must come up together and contribute to mankind,” she said.