Covid-19 Relief work update (6th & 7th April)
Today we stuck to Arekere and Hulimavu. We went in two cars. We have distributed 8 days straight about Rs.1.55 lakhs of rations.
The situation seems a bit better in some ways and worse in other ways. Some places with reputed builders are providing rations. Police are also distributing in some places. Indira Canteens are now charging money so going out of reach except for those who have got online transfer. But too far away, long waiting, limited capacity there. Only one rice biryani given apparently, nothing else.
Most disturbing is the way people run towards the vehicles. - In one place one woman ran more than a furlong. Kids looking at the uncooked food. Old and not so old begging for rations. If you stop in one miserable set of shacks among huge garbage piles, another set of people, mostly women from nearby shacks across the road show up. Slowly we and they have separate kind of feeling coming up. Kannadigas, Biharis, Bengalis, Muslims. Even if they stay side by side they pester you for separate rations. The Biharis in one place say “they won't give us anything if you ask them to distribute”. The Kannadigas, say “we will”.
Even those living in pucca houses, perhaps local wage workers, servant maids, run up expecting food. Unless something changes... Hard to say what will happen. People seem a bit more desperate in the areas we revisited.
Today we split into 2 vehicles. One team went to Bellandur and distributed rice and oil to a large colony of migrants of about 300 people. The second team went around Bilekahalli, Arekere and distributed 12 bags of rice, 7 bags of dal, one sack of potatoes, and oil.
There are so many people in trouble at almost walking distance from IIM. For instance, Ranka Colony has an open ground with lots of temporary shacks and migrants. Again, on the right of Bannerghatta Road, a bit beyond the old Reliance Mall is another largish congregation of temporary slums.
This is the 9th day of distributing. We are getting funds and hopefully can handle it.
We found one Royal Traders in Hulimavu who gave rice at Rs.885 for 30 kg and dal for Rs. 89/kg. We are trying out a small experiment. He will give us 100 stamped ‘coupons’ – small chits of paper. The police officer, Bramesha will go and distribute them to isolated shacks not covered so far by us. Each packet will have one kg sugar, one kg dal, 5kg rice (the last could be 3 kg rice and 2 kg atta). This should be enough for a small family for a week and costs Rs.300. The trader will make the packets himself at no cost.
The ‘needy’ will come and take the packets against their coupons. We will reimburse the trader. We will continue the existing system of personally going around distributing. After a day or so, we will see which is more efficient.