Covid-19 Relief Work Update 27th May
After a longish gap, here is a brief update. The work of distributing dry rations to those in Bangalore is continuing at the same pace. We also provide milk to households with young children.
We have expanded the work to include migrants walking back and those going by bus. For them we provide cooked food. We do it on the highway NH44 about 150 km from Bangalore. That’s because we have some local set up there which can provide meals.
To date a quick calculation shows we have distributed about Rs.40 lakhs worth of food and rations.
We made a trip to Anantapur to see what’s going on. Buses are coming from Tamil Nadu and going to North India. Long journey. The ones we met were going from Tiruppur to Balaghat in MP. They were working in the garment industry there. Mostly young girls. They paid a few thousand rupees a seat for the bus ride.
Earlier we were giving food to those who were walking. That wave of walkers are now not there – perhaps because trains have started. The Government is not allowing anyone to provide food to those in the trains. They say they will do it themselves. They are not even accepting funds as of now. Sowe provide food (meals) plus water plus roti/sabji packed for carrying with them to those on buses. That is lunch. We also provide breakfast – idli, chutney, sambar.
In Bangalore, many of the working class people we are in touch with are slowly going back to work. Some have left and gone back. A few are in fact coming back to Bangalore – the ‘lucky’ ones who left Bangalore before the lockdown. Situation is still unclear as the hotel, restaurant sector is more or less closed down so cooks, waiters, cleaners are jobless. All factories are not operating at full strength – some are at 30% so again many are jobless. Construction is slowly re-starting, but not at the pace it was earlier. So again some jobless people here. Perhaps vegetable vendors are ok. The delivery boys, and the young people working in shopping malls are in trouble – no jobs. Swiggy et al have already laid off people. No one is ordering pizza, so that set of jobs from those in the restaurant to the delivery boys have lost their jobs. The army of security guards is half employed – since many places are not calling all of them back to work. The housemaids, again mixed- some are going to work and some are still without wages for two months. It seems each apartment complex decides whether to allow maids or not. Auto drivers are apparently earning half of what they used to earlier as commuters are down.
The small businesses and the not so small businesses are also in big trouble.
In short, situation long term is not clear. Very likely that many will be rendered jobless for the immediate future. We hear that many white-collar jobs are also going away.
Thanks once again for your generous and kind support.
We are also selling tons of mangoes from the rural areas in Bangalore direct to customers. The trade margins of about Rs.30/kg net of costs is a real benefit to small farmers.
Anyone interested in contributing, can send in their donations to the following:
Name: Centre for Collective Development
Bank: SBI IIM Bangalore Branch
A/c No: 54019812310
Please email email@example.com giving your name, PAN number, address and amount contributed. We will be happy to send you the 80G receipt so that you can avail a tax benefit.