KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation started crowdfunding for Covid-related activities when they were unable to start any new projects owing to election protocol. By the time the government allowed fund collection on behalf of the secretary, the civic body has already supplied nearly 50,000 food packets to Covid-affected families
On April 23, while the election protocol was still in place, the Kochi Corporation took a bold step to source funds from its people to provide immediate support to Covid-hit families. Mayor M Anilkumar requested all political parties, religious heads, the business community, NGOs and medical associations to contribute whatever they can to help the city fight the pandemic.
Many offered auditoriums for use free of cost, some donated medicines and beds, while others donated money. The most essential thing was ensuring that all Covid patients and those in quarantine were getting food in time, the mayor said.
“It was a confidence-building measure. Once a person realises that he is Covid positive, he begins to panic. How will I live, how will I look after my family, who will provide us with medicine and food? A patient begins to think about these things. So, we decided that economically backward patients should be provided with cooked food. For those in quarantine who can afford to buy essentials, volunteers will distribute the same to them. The idea is to keep everyone indoors, without leaving them to starve,” said the mayor.
In the next stage, the corporation will arrange kits for families where at least one person is well enough to cook. Four societies have already come forward to support the initiative. The Shipyard Society has agreed to provide food materials upto Rs 1 lakh and the Naval Base Credit Service Society gave a cheque for Rs 1 lakh. Naval Base Consumer society will supply goods and Edappally Service Cooperative Bank 328 has donated cash. Many other organisations and individuals have also promised to support via cash and goods.
“Now we are confident we can keep this running. We started with no reserve funds. Ernakulam Karayogam gave their kitchen at TDM hall as well as stocked food material when we started. Later, we bought goods on credit. Recently, we got an order from the government that a separate account can be started in the name of the corporation secretary to receive contributions. Those who need income tax receipt for the donations, can get it through Karayogam,” added Anil.
PRAISE AND CRITICISM FOR MAYOR
Social media has come out in appreciation of the mayor’s bold steps, bringing all parties, faiths and volunteers under one fold to manage a crisis. However, his party workers are apparently upset that the mayor allowed other party’s members in the prevention and rescue mission. To this, the mayor had just one reply: “Let’s talk politics later. Now is the time to unite and concentrate on the mission to save lives”.