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As Donations Reduce Drastically, Delhi Gurudwaras Face Trouble Feeding The Needy During Lockdown

File photo of  Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi.

File photo of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi.

As a large number of people are unable to visit the gurdwaras, the donations have reduced drastically to just 20 per cent, even as the number of homeless people being fed has gone up.

The gurdwaras in the national capital are facing shortage of ration and cash following a steep rise in the number of homeless people being fed amid the ongoing lockdown, says the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee.

Since the imposition of the countrywide lockdown on March 25 to stave off the spread of coronavirus, the DSGMC-managed gurdwaras across the city have provided free meals to around 50 lakh homeless people, migrant workers and elderly.

Some of the gurdwaras have also provided shelter to around 200 health staff, including doctors and nurses, besides taking care of coronavirus positive patients in various hospitals.

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has deployed 500 people, including cooks, drivers, and sanitation workers, to carry out relief services during the lockdown.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the president of the Sikh body said, "Earlier, the gurdwaras in Delhi would receive around Rs 40 lakh in donations which kept the 'angar' (community kitchen) service going."

As a large number of people are unable to visit the gurdwaras during the lockdown, the donations have reduced drastically to just 20 per cent, he said.

The langar service is going on thanks to some kind people who have been donating ration, including ghee, oil, sugar, flour, rice, pulses, spices, salt etc. "But the number of people who need to be fed is increasing every day and our resources are under tremendous strain," Sirsa said.

He said the DSGMC has been receiving calls from various gurdwara across the national capital, informing it of the depleting resources.

The Sikh body is completely dependent on donations. It is because of the help of a few large-hearted people across the globe that the DSGMC is able to continue with the services, Sirsa said.

A few people have come out and donated cash anonymously. A couple donated Rs 2.5 lakh on their 50th anniversary to the DSGMC, he said. "At least 20 trucks of ration have been donated to the gurdwara anonymously," the official added.

Families based in various parts of the world and belonging to different faiths have been donating ration and cash, he said.

Recently, the World Punjabi Organisation, a body representing Sikhs across the globe, donated Rs 51 lakh to the DSGMC. Similarly, some businessmen and companies based in India donated cash to help the DSGMC feed the needy.

"But, considering the number of people who need food, we require more people to come out and donate in cash and kind. If you cannot go to a gurdwara to do 'sewa' (service) during the lockdown, please donate ration to a nearby gurdwara or make monetary contributions to DSGMC through its website," Sirsa added.

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