Dignity In Times Of Despair

Bhubaneswar: The Punjabi Arya Sanatan Biradari and Mangal Sabha on Thursday held a ration distribution camp at Telegu Basti near Chillipokhari area of Tankapani Road.

Biradari members and other social workers arranged the ration packets on open tables and asked needy people to come and pick up whatever and how much they wanted. More than a 100 families were provided rations for a week. Besides rice, dal, sooji, cooking oil, sugar and condiments, vegetables, soap and masks too were provided.

As part of the initiative, a temperature screening was done of all the people who had come. The women also counselled the people on hygiene and social distancing.

Biradari president Lajpat Chawla has promised that they will undertake to keep the supply of rations to these families till the lockdown is over. Biradari secretary Sanjeev Hans said that while the authorities are doing all they can, the role of civil society in this hour of distress is vital. He urged the Biradari members to extend their full support for the needy.

Anil Dhir is of the opinion that the poor and needy should be given help with due dignity. He said that for this reason no handouts were given, rather the people were asked to come and pick up whatever they wanted.

The slum dwellers of this place are from Ganjam and work as day labourers. They are experts in excavating soil and digging wells. Traditionally called “matias” or “kelas”, they are very proud people, who prefer to toil hard for their living. Even 70-year-olds go to work every day. As they have got no work since the lockdown, many of them were taking only a meal a day.

Prafulla Swain, a social worker, has written to the authorities that work in the form of de-silting the water bodies in and around Old Town should be taken up in this hour of need to provide work for these people. It can be a food for work programme; these proud and hardworking people would still prefer to work rather than sit idle and live on dole.

The Biradari will ensure that every person in this place is provided with adequate rations till they go back to work. Bharati Girdhar said that this sort of distribution will be done after every three days and no one will be left out. Many of the ladies and youth of the Biradari assisted in the distribution.

Anil Dhir has welcomed volunteers who can assist in packing and distribution of the rations. He has also appealed to citizens to give information about other left out people, who live on the fringes and are in distress. All efforts will be taken to give assistance in the form of rations. They can contact the Biradari on 9861020747.

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