This Odia Professor Feeds 1000 Daily Around IIT-Kanpur Campus
Kanpur: He has turned a portion of IIT Kanpur into a community kitchen and feeds 1,000 children of migrant labourers, struggling for survival amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Meet Laxmidhar Behera, a Professor of IIT Kanpur and a native of Talsara village in Balasore district.
It all started when an acquaintance requested him to provide food to students of a school run for children of the brick kiln labourers, mostly from Bihar and Jharkhand.
An ISKCON devotee, he initially approached the organisation but they were not in a position to provide meals to these children due to unavoidable circumstances. He then sought the permission of the institute’s director to operate the community kitchen from campus and they agreed.
His colleagues also pitched in and now their spouses are helping in preparing chapatis. IIT-K fraternity and even others are contributing money to run this kitchen. Students of the institute can also be seen toiling with the large-sized cooking utensils.
“We prepare Rajma, Puri-sabzi, khichdi or rawa halwa at the community centre,” the 54-year-old professor told the Hindustan Times.
The cooked food is then distributed among the labourers’ families once a day with the help of a former research associate, a local community leader, and other volunteers.
Behera learnt cooking for communities while conducting Bhagawad Gita recital at the institute, when he served food to the students prepared by him and his wife. “I have huge vessels used for catering to 200- 300 people,” the 54-year-old professor told the New Indian Express.
Besides cooked food, they also have been providing dry ration to 100 families since more than a week, the professor of Department of Electrical Engineering at the IIT with specialisation in robotics and artificial intelligence said.
Behera did his M.Tech from NIIT Rourkela and PhD from IIT Delhi. He worked for BITS Pilani and as a scientist at National Research Centre of Information Technology, Germany, before joining IIT Kanpur in 2001.
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