THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The free food kit announced by the state government in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown has come as a blessing not only for the beneficiaries but also for hundreds of Kudumbashree units across the state. The micro-enterprise units manufacturing cloth carry bags under the Kudumbashree Mission are gearing up to scale up production after bagging the tender from Supplyco (Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation) to deliver around 85 lakh cloth carry bags to various Supplyco outlets. Kudumbashree has around 4,000 manufacturing units in Kerala.
“This is one among the biggest orders we have received since we started production of eco-friendly cloth carry bags. We have been asked to produce around 85 lakh 18x16 inch cloth kits with a carrying capacity of 15 kg. We are yet to get the work order from Supplyco. Our units have been producing cloth masks since the outbreak. Around 300 units have been actively involved in mass face mask production. Now they will be deployed to produce cloth bags,” said an official of Kudumbashree Mission.
The free food kit comprises 17 items including sugar, tea, salt, chickpea, coconut oil, rava, sunflower oil and black gram. The plan is to prepare food kits at the 56 depots of Supplyco and selected stores across the state and distribute them to cardholders via ration shops and other Supplyco outlets in the coming days.
The state government has sanctioned Rs 350 crore from the nearly Rs 850 crore of Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) for the programme.
The Kudumbashree Mission has been entrusted with delivering the bags within two weeks. “We have apparel parks and tailoring units attached to them where the production takes place. Also, we give the material to the workers and they bring back finished products. Around 5,000 woman personnel would be roped in for the job,” said the official.
According to sources, Kudumbashree has also bagged an order worth `1 crore to supply cloth carry bags to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation Ltd recently. “We got the work order from Bevco a couple of days before the declaration of lockdown. Because of the situation, we had to put the production on hold. Each bag costs Rs 22 but we have decided to deliver the same to Supplyco at a reduced rate,” said the official.
In Thiruvananthapuram district, Kudumbashree Mission is gearing up to produce around 3 lakh kits for Supplyco. Haritha S Nair, manager of Common Facility Centre and Apparel Park at Parassala, said that the unit would be able to produce around 5,000 carry bags per day.
“We will be able to operate the unit from 9 am to 5 pm. Also, we have requested the authorities to provide us with raw materials. We usually procure the materials from Marthandam in Tamil Nadu but that will not be feasible due to the lockdown,” said Haritha.
Kudumbashree activities since Covid-19 outbreak
● Kudumbashree units produced around 14.5 lakh cloth masks to support frontline institutions including Medical Services Corporation, District Medical Offices, district administration and district panchayats.
● Around 2,000 litres of hand sanitiser was produced by units in total
● Production of masks and hand sanitiser enabled Kudumbashree to earn `2.30 crore since the outbreak in the state