8 people have died in Uttar Pradesh of severe cold; As temperatures continue to plummet, people in small towns and villages are looking towards an easy going administration for help. While temperatures are below normal in December, the local administration has failed to take prompt action to provide relief.
Faizabad. Shivkumar, a poor rickshaw puller in Faizabad town, was spending the night at the government run night shelter opposite the Circuit House. ‘There are almost 25 people here every night. All of us spend each night shivering since there are no blankets and no fires lit in the shelter.’ Another rickshaw puller Rajitram says, ‘The days have become colder. All day we pull rickshaws and at night even at the shelter we have no respite from the freezing cold.’
Jagdish says, ‘A handful of rickshaw pullers were given blankets last week at the Railway Station. We are all waiting for similar help from the administration. A few days ago some wood was provided to us for lighting a fire but that got picked up by waiting passengers and was used by them.
When contacted, a clerk at the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s office said that fires would be lit in public places soon. ‘We started lighting the fires only 10 days ago. As for blankets, none have come to the tehsil yet. When we get them, we will distribute them to those in need.’
Chitrakoot. In Chitrakoot, the local administration has still not started lighting fires in public places. Temperatures have been dropping since 13 December and as per regulations, fires should have been lit starting mid December. In the Rajapur area of Ramnagar block, residents were forced to approach the administration. They submitted a written request to the Junior Engineer on 16 December only to be told that fires would be provided only from 25 December.