In the Labyrinthine Slum Known as Anna Nagar
By Adnan Bhat:
In the labyrinthine slum known as Anna Nagar, situated in the heart of the national capital, are about 200 structures. Like many other slums, most of them are shanties, and as many as 3000 households living in them.
The stink of sewage and human excreta is everywhere, as there are not enough toilets- to be more precise, just one. There is not enough water and all they have in the name of drinking water is a water storage tank provided by the Delhi Jal Board. There is not enough space. Families sleep in sheds; five humans, maybe seven, packed into a single tiny room divided into many tiny rooms. Hygiene is terrible. Diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria are rampant.
The slum is situated just on the periphery of WHO (World Health Organisation) office, a special institution of the UN with the objective of “attainment by all people the highest possible of health level”and above it hovers the Delhi Metro line, symbol of modern India.Moving deep into the slum, the dank maze of passages starts growing narrower and narrower; there is a small dispensary, the only health care facility available which is actually just a small concrete building with three rooms in the middle of the shanties. Just at the entrance of the building there is a lady, Nirmala Devi, the only official present. As we enquire about the facility, she says, “it is not a Government dispensary, rather a setup by an N.G.O named “Asha”. We don’t get any help from the Government”. With no doctors available and Nirmala herself not being a medical professional, shows the deplorable conditions of this area. It unmasks the negligence of the Government and the WHO, showing us the true faces behind those benevolent pretences.
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