HARYANA: A 'Roti Bank' is being run in five districts of Haryana by Shrikant Jadhav, Addl DGP (Haryana State Narcotics Control Bureau), to check beggary and instill confidence among the poor and destitute children that they are not alone in this world.
The 'bank' began its work in June 2017 by the 1994 batch IPS officer when he was posted as Inspector General of Police of State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) in Madhuban in keeping with the motto 'Sewa, Suraksha, Sehyog' (service, protection and cooperation).
"I was not my individual effort. It was a collective effort of Haryana Police personnel from various districts," says Jadhav self-effacingly. Jadhav explains how the 'bank' started. "One day I decided to distribute food to the poor near the SCRB campus where I was posted. Some 40 food packets - all cooked by the staff and their families - were prepared," recalls Jadhav.
The officer then went to a brick kiln nearby and distributed these food packets. "Within minutes my car was surrounded by dozens of children who too demanded food. I had never imagined such a situation," says Jadhav.
Jadhav came back and decided that at least one meal in a day could be given to these people. "Thus started the concept of Roti Bank".
Initially, he began with a small group of 40-45 police personnel who would provide food at least once a day to the homeless and the needy. "My staff enthusiastically volunteered as we appealed to the families of the police personnel staying on the campus to donate chapattis. We placed collection baskets (tokris) at various points on the campus. The group cooked sabzi and dal and then prepared the packets for distribution. It was about 300 meals per day," he said.
Other IAS, IPS and state police service officers besides others joined Jadhav’s noble cause. After the success of the bank in Madhuban, it was started in Kurukshetra then Rewari, Faridabad and Gurugram.
Last year when COVID struck and restrictions were imposed, the 'bank' was suspended for a few days. "We received feedback that the poor and the needy were unable to earn their living and had nothing to eat. So, we decided that the ‘bank’ would now not stop even for a day," says Jadhav.
The 'Roti Bank' also ptovides basic medicines.
There are around 3,000 members of such ‘banks’ being run at Madhuban in Karnal, Kurukshetra, Rewari, Faridabad and Gurugram where more than 2,000 food packets are distributed daily. A 'Roti Bank' team goes at various places every day covering a city.
Each district where the roti bank is in operation has an individual bank account and the donations are collected and deposited into that account and spent accordingly. "We encourage people to celebrate their or their children’s birthdays by donating," says Jadhav.
Civilians too are members of the 'bank'.