- 3 officers of Indian Army (Territorial) are helping people battle COVID-19
- Army officers are providing ration, hygiene kit to needy people in Mumbai
- The trio has distributed 4,500 ration and 4,500 hygiene kits
New Delhi: Maharashtra is one of the worst affected states in India, accounting for over 33 per cent of the total Novel Coronavirus cases in India. The state has surpassed China’s COVID-19 tally of 83,036 confirmed cases. In Maharashtra, Mumbai, the financial capital of India is one of the badly impacted cities, having more than half of the COVID-19 cases in the state. There also Dharavi, believed to be one of Asia’s largest slums is a coronavirus hotspot. The continuous sharp rise in the COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and the lockdown has impacted the lives and livelihood of many especially the residents of Dharavi, and daily wagers. In order to assist the people impacted by the COVID-19 induced lockdown and loss of jobs, three officers of the Indian Army (Territorial) have come forward to distribute ration and hygiene kits.
Major Pradeep Arya, Captain Neil Shaji, and Major Sanjay Raole along with the help of NASSCOM Foundation have undertaken the initiative to support the people of Dharavi, the North-eastern community, rickshaw drivers and the tribals of Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
According to the warriors, the reason behind stepping up for a couple of groups is because they have been impacted badly. For instance, the North-Eastern community usually deployed in the hospitality sector is out of job and facing severe challenges to make ends meet. Similar is the case with residents of Dharavi who usually live hand to mouth and other daily wage earners.
Talking about the distribution process, Captain Neil Shaji said,
We identified vulnerable populations in Mumbai and found that members from North East Community, Dharavi, Tribals and Rickshaw drivers were some of the many who were affected during COVID-19. We undertook this task like a military operation – identifying and assisting them with ration/hygiene kits which can suffice a family of 3-4 can for at least 10-15 days.
The trio began the relief work on May 21 and have provided 4,500 ration kits and 4,500 hygiene kits to numerous families. While one ration kit consists of five items – 5 kg of wheat flour, 5 kg of rice, 2 kg of tur dal, 200 gms of turmeric powder, and chilli powder, each hygiene kit contains 3 soaps, 2 washing cloth soap, hand wash and sanitary napkin. Each family gets both a ration and a hygiene kit.
Thanking the officers for the noble deed and talking about the need of these kits, Leo Raikhan, representative of North-eastern community said,
The ration and hygiene kits means a lot to those that have been affected at this time of difficulties and lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic, where many have lost their jobs and are living with no more daily supplies.
The trio received support from multiple individuals and organisations. While Mumbai Police and Poornata Foundation helped with on groundwork that is reaching out to the people in dire need and supplying essential kits in Dharavi, NASSCOM Foundation provided the kits and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Abhilasha Foundation assisted in the distribution of kits.
Talking about what motivated the organisation to step up for the people in need and support the officers, Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation said,
Mumbai is one of the worst COVID-19 affected cities in the country. The city also has one of the largest populations of migrants. We at NASSCOM Foundation have been working tirelessly to provide help to the migrants and daily wage laborers in Mumbai and across other cities in India. The three officers helped us reach the marginalised communities of slum dwellers at Dharavi and a large population of commercial sex workers while also supporting in sensitisation activities.
The initiative has also got support from Sandhya Shetty, Actor, Model, Commonwealth Karate Gold Medallist and an advocate of No Fear campaign that promotes martial arts among women. Ms Shetty assisted in reaching out to rescued women, and tribals of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Sharing her views on the association, Ms Shetty said,
The mission is to empower women with education, employment, nourishment and freedom. Our aim is to help the vulnerable group and spread happiness and this food and hygiene relief camp is just a small step of support on humanitarian grounds.
After having reached out to certain communities, the trio plans to continue with the work and reach out to people living in other parts of Dharavi so as to cover a larger population and ensure no one is deprived of basic things – food and hygiene – during these trying times.