- 3 Army officers distributed essential kits to sex workers and transgenders
- The ration and hygiene kits were distributed with the help of Mumbai Police
- Mumbai is close to reaching 35,000 positive cases of COVID-19
New Delhi: India’s richest city and financial capital, Mumbai is home to almost 2 crore people, as per the 2011 census. But the city is also close to touching the 35,000 mark on the number of COVID-19 cases. Owing to the unprecedented pandemic, Indians continue to be in a partial lockdown. However, as a result of the lockdown, several communities and areas remain worst hit, as they struggle to earn money to afford daily essentials. These include daily wagers, commercial sex workers and even transgenders, hailing from the overpopulated slum areas. In an attempt to support these vulnerable groups in Mumbai, three highly regarded officers of the Indian Territorial Army have come forward to distribute ration and hygiene kits, with the help of Mumbai Police.
The three army officers, Major Pradeep Arya, Captain Neil Shaji and Major Sanjay Raole undertook the initiative to aid these vulnerable groups, who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic. They went to Kamathipura and Falkland areas of Mumbai to distribute the kits, home to innumerable sex workers and transgenders whose income is also earned daily, as these communities are particularly overlooked amid the crisis. Captain Neil Shaji told NDTV,
With the support and assistance of Mumbai Police Additional Commissioner – Central Region, Veeresh Prabhu and partner NGOs, like NASSCOM Foundation, who helped arrange the kits, we were able to implement the distribution that began on 22nd May. We will continue to carry on the drive among other sectors and regions of Mumbai in the coming weeks.
Explaining about the contents of the kit, Captain Shaji explained that it will cater to an individual’s basic needs, he explained each kit not only contains groceries, but also hygiene products. He said,
Essential kits contain 5 kg of wheat flour, 5 kg of rice, 2 kg of tur dal, 200 gms of turmeric powder, and chilli powder. Along with the ration kit, 3 soaps, 2 washing cloth soap, hand wash and sanitary napkin are also being distributed as part of the hygiene kit.
He further said that these assorted essential kits will also be distributed to similar regions of Sion-Agripada, Cotton green, Charni Road and Kandivali in the city, as they aim to distribute 4,500 ration kits and 4,500 hygiene kits. Major Pradeep Arya, added,
Our aim with this initiative is to support the vulnerable people and encourage them to stay home and not step outside to buy essentials. I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is complex, more so during these trying times.
The officers further received the support of NGOs like Prerna Foundation, Apne Aap Collective, Rescue Foundation for their work with the Community Sex Workers and Arju Foundation for their assistance with the transgender communities. These associations helped the Indian Territorial Army officers to reach the deepest corners of Mumbai to distribute and make available these crucial kits for all those in dire need, Major Sanjay Raole explained.
We are thankful to everyone who contributed in every way possible no matter how big or small. A large number of livelihoods are affected by the lockdown, so as our duty we will continue to work towards the relief for the vulnerable groups in the days to come, Major Raole signed off.