Free food campaign a feast for slum dwellers

April 16th, 2008 - 6:05 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Nine-year-old Nizam couldn’t wait for his classes to get over. As soon as the bell rang, he rushed to the night shelter near his school in Nizamuddin area where free food was distributed as a part of the hunger-free Delhi programme. Launched Wednesday by the Delhi government, the campaign, called “Aap ki Rasoi”, aims to feed the poor and the underprivileged in the city.

Lalan Singh, an official of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), said this initiative would be a daily affair, for at least a year in the Nizamuddin night shelter.

“The campaign will be implemented in all the other night shelters in Delhi. The campaign here (in Nizamuddin) will be run for at least a year, where free food will be provided to the poor during the day, everyday,” Singh told IANS.

More than 300 people of the Nizamuddin basti (slum) were fed on the first day of the campaign.

Squatting on the floor along with his six-year-old sister Yasmin and nine-year-old friend Chaman, Nizam had a gala time feasting and chatting away to glory.

“The food here is better than the food that we get in school,” Nizam said, licking his fingers.

Of the simple meal of rice, dal (lentils), a mixed vegetable and a sweet dish, he loved the dessert the most.

“This suji is really nice. Although some of my friends have come today, not all know about it. Will they give us free food tomorrow as well?” he asked.

Walking up to the shelter and seeing the great hullabaloo, 11-year-old Shakeela was however quite taken aback.

“Free food? I didn’t know about it, nor do my parents. I will tell them now,” she said.

Singh said with this initiative, the government wants to encourage corporate houses to carry out similar programmes.

“Some corporate houses such as ITC, besides the management of the Akshardham temple, are supporting this cause. But more corporate houses should come forward for such initiatives,” he said.

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