MADHYA PRADESH: His moonwalk dance moves while on duty at Indore’s busy High Court crossing for many years, have seen Madhya Pradesh Traffic Police head constable Ranjeet Singh win the hearts of not only the Indoreans, but also people across the globe.
The 42-year-old ‘Singham’ of Indore police now has a new job at hand. Along with a team of sixseven other traffic cops of Madhya Pradesh’s most populated city, Ranjeet is now on a mission to deliver free and nutritious food to the relatives of Covid patients in hospitals of the city, as well as serve food at the doorstep of the homeisolated, who have been abandoned by relatives and neighbours.
Leading the group of bluewhite uniformed Indore traffic policemen, Ranjeet along with his constable colleagues Bal Mukund, Ravi, Rajesh, Gajendra, Tara Chand and traffic police crane driver Munna Ansari has been rendering daily food to 250 family members and relatives of Covid patients admitted in six hospitals of Indore.
The team is speeding mobikes before and after their duty hours to deliver lunch and dinner packets at the doorstep of 45-plus home-isolated patients, who aren’t getting any support either from relatives or neighbours.
“It all started 24 days back, during the auspicious Basantiya Navratra, when I was headed to my traffic police station for duty. A female relative of a Covid patient admitted at the MTH hospital adjoining our police station stopped me and told that she was hungry. I first gave her money, but she showed me that she had enough money, but couldn’t buy food due to lockdown,” recalls Ranjeet.
“I gave her my tiffin, on seeing which around 15 attendants of other Covid patients hurried towards me and sought food. I was helpless, but then I rang my colleagues and arranged food for them. This marked the beginning of our free food service to patients’ attendants waiting outside hospitals,” says Ranjeet.
One of his colleagues, head constable Bal Mukund Swami, says every day before and after their eight-hour traffic duty shift, they are at the traffic police station cooking nutritious food for the patients’ relatives and the home-isolated. “We currently offer lunch and dinner food packets to the home-isolated across Indore and food packets to patients’ kin at DNS, MTH, MY, Laal and Government Super Specialty Hospitals.”
While Ranjeet has pooled Rs 35,500 from his salary to fund this mission, two senior traffic police officers ASP (Traffic) Ranjeet Singh Devke and Inspector Dilip Singh Parihar have contributed Rs 5,000 to this mission which is commonly addressed by traffic cops as ‘Helping Hand.’
Not only the traffic police personnel, but others in Indore, including private school teacher Anuj and businessman Sunny Ajmera, have been funding food-grain and packing material for the kitchen being run by Ranjeet at the traffic police station. Ranjeet, who has 1.40 lakh followers on Facebook and 40,000 followers on Instagram, is overwhelmed with requests from his fans who are eager to help him and his team.
“I’ve clearly told my social media followers and friends in Indore that this battle is not going to end with the current wave of in Indore. Our efforts will continue even after the lockdown is lifted,” says Ranjeet. “We’ll continue to support families affected by personal loss and income. I’ve appealed to them to support our cause monetarily after the lockdown,” he adds.
While Indoreans clicking selfies with Ranjeet on Indore’s roads isn’t new, his latest avtar has rendered him and his team the status of ‘Annadata.’
“There was no one to render food to us, but for the last one week, the traffic police cops with the lunch-dinner packets at our doorstep have turned as Annadata for us,” said an elderly couple from Bengali Square. The couple is in home isolation with their son.
“I lost my aunt to Covid in Varanasi recently and Friday marked her Trayodashah (13th day of post-cremation rituals). We prepared special food to mark that ceremony and it was served among others, to a mentally ill destitute woman, who like kissed my forehead as blessings. The mere ‘khush raho’ (be happy) by those being served food are enough to keep this mission going even after lockdown,” says Ranjeet.