GUWAHATI: As Assam battles a devastating flood, an MLA has gone the extra mile in feeding the hungry.
The BJP’s Mrinal Saikia has also inspired many in his Khumtai constituency to put aside daily business and look after the affected people. His priority has been to provide cooked food to thousands who are marooned on the banks of the Brahmaputra.
He fed readymade food to 15,000 people. Dozens of citizens have joined his campaign. Given that floods are an annual feature in Assam, the MLA prepared himself well ahead to help people. He bought a four-wheeler and modified it to suit his needs.
“Keeping the floods in mind, I had bought a four-wheeler and fitted some racks on it. The racks were needed to keep the bowls of food. The first day, I spent from my pocket to feed people. When photos of the service went viral on social media, a lot of people came forward to donate in kind. The flow of donations was so big that I had to eventually urge people to stop donating,” Saikia told this newspaper.
He said his aim was to provide one square meal to the affected. He said he could have offered rice and dal but the people would have struggled to cook food. He said he had fed around 15,000 people in Khumtai and its neighbouring Bokakhat constituency.
In the next phase, Saikia used the vehicle as a mobile medical clinic. Equipped with medicines, he moved around affected villages and organised several medical camps.
“After every flood, the affected suffer from various diseases. So, I planned to organise some mobile medical camps. I took the help of some government doctors and nurses. The medicines came in from government supplies,” the MLA said.
In the third and last phase, which is underway, he is distributing saplings of paddy to the farmers. He said he had provided the saplings to around 800 farmers till Thursday.
“We must help people when they are suffering. I had reached out to the flood-affected in a similar manner even when I was not a legislator,” he said.
The first wave of the flood in Assam has so far killed 74 people and affected over 50 lakh others.