KOLKATA: A number of voluntary and Left organisations in the city and districts have set up community kitchens to provide food to the poor so that they do not go hungry during the lockdown imposed to check the surge in COVID-19 cases.
One such community kitchen is Jadavpur Sramajibi Canteen run by Left organisations SFI and DYFI for the past one year in the southern belt, including Netajinagar, Azadgarh, Baghajatin, and 8B bus stand in Jadavpur station area of the city.
"While for past one year we have been operating the canteen where one can have a meal of rice, vegetables, egg or fish by paying a token amount of Rs 20, imposition of the lockdown has rendered hundreds in the area penniless and we have started distributing lunch packets for free to a certain section of people, who can't even pay Rs 20, and are starving for past several days," an SFI leader of Jadavpur University said.
The Jatiyo Bangla Sammelan, a social organisation promoting Bengali culture and language, has set up community kitchens in the city and Hooghly and Nadia districts.
Siddhabrata Das said on behalf of the organisation that volunteers are distributing food packets for free among the underprivileged, particularly daily wage earners, in Ballygunge area of the city, Konnagar, Nabagram, Chanditala areas of Hooghly, and Shantipur area of Nadia districts.
"Every single member of our organisation, as well as numerous well wishers, have chipped in to help us in different ways. We are happy to serve people at the time of the pandemic and lockdown. We will help them in the future as well," Das said.
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Each food packet has rice, dal, vegetable, and egg curry.
Actor Rwitobroto Mukherjee, social activist Joyraj Bhattachadya, actor Anirban Bhattacharya, dancer Srabanti Bhattacharya, and others have joined hands to provide affordable meal parcels comprising rice, dal, vegetables, and egg curry at Rs 20 to 400-450 poor people in Baje Shibpur area of Howrah.
The Priyonath Manna Bastee Community Kitchen launched since the last lockdown in 2020, is mostly funded by the amount raised through concerts participated by dedicated young individuals from different walks of life.
A token amount of Rs 20 is charged for every plate to cover the basic cost, Joyraj said.
Srabanty, an acclaimed classical dancer said, "whatever amount we raise by our performances, we spend on this project."