Be it the promotion of organic cultivation or decentralised waste management, Alappuzha is scripting success. Now, the district administration and NGOs have joined hands for a noble cause. To feed the poor and the sick, the state government chose Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram civic bodies to implement the ‘Hunger-free Kerala’ pilot project in the 2017-18 Budget. However, some of the NGOs in Alappuzha have set the ball rolling much before the project implementation across the district. Express examines
Chellappan of Thottunkalveli house is a septuagenarian farmer living in a makeshift house on a rented plot at Thottunkal village in Mannancherry panchayat with his wife Bharathi. In their early years, they had toiled hard in the paddy fields of Kuttanad to eke out a living. After selling the five cents they had for the marriage of their two daughters, the couple was in dire straits and they were rendered homeless. Their daughters were unable to take care of them due to financial and health reasons.
Since 2010, the old couple has been living in a shed and their only source of income is the paltry agricultural pension, which reaches them once or twice a year. This is barely sufficient to meet their needs for food and medicines. They were living at the mercy of neighbours who provided them food. For the past four months they are a relieved lot. The P Krishna Pillai Memorial Pain and Palliative Care Society volunteers serve food at their doorsteps every day.
Their lunch and dinner come packed in a casserole, which is brought by volunteers at 11 am.
Says Chellappan: “The daily food is a donation by the grace of God. God entrusted the palliative society volunteers to serve food to poor folks like us. It is a relief.” Chellappan is one of the 350 beneficiaries of the free meal scheme of the society under the ‘Hunger-free Mararikulam’ project initiated by various social service organisations functioning in Kanjikuzhi. Started a few months ago, the project is smoothly progressing with the support of the public.
According to R Riyas, convener of the project, “High-rise buildings and high-end vehicles are conquering the streets and roads. There are ultra modern mobile handsets enabling one to see the world. But, people are blind towards the plight of the poor, who don’t have the means to have a sufficient meal once a day. The charity of pain and palliative care societies initiated by the CPM and the efforts of the state government to bring down poverty have begun in Alappuzha, the land of labour revolutions.”
The state government has introduced the ‘Hunger-free Kerala’ project in the last Budget and the pilot project will begin in Alappuzha Municipality this month. The plates, casseroles and other equipment for distributing food were collected from the public. In addition, many people have been donating to the venture. “All arrangements are nearing completion and the project will begin by February 15,” said District Collector T V Anupama.
“Much ahead of the government imitative, P Krishna Pillai Memorial Pain and Palliative Care Society started the effort a few months ago. The society, in association with various local government institutions and voluntary organisations, has been serving meals to 350 bedridden patients and poor people who stay alone every day,” Riyas said. “We have constructed a kitchen and appointed 10 labourers for preparing food and packing it in casseroles. More than 50 volunteers were appointed for serving the food at the door steps of beneficiaries. The project is implemented in Mararikulam South, Mannancherry, Aryad and Muhamma panchayats. Food is served before 12.30 pm. A set of casseroles was arranged for distribution. Non-vegetarian meals are served twice a week,” he said.
“Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac is the mastermind behind the programme. The support of various benefactors is also a big support to the project. Now, the community kitchen is functioning at Valavanad and another kitchen is being constructed at Kalavoor,” he said.
Another society in Cherthala is also distributing food to around 300 people in the municipality and nearby panchayats. Other panchayats in the district are also planning to start the project.
has been allocated in the Budget for extending the project to more districts. The state government has launched the project, aiming to provide one free meal a day for the needy. The schemes will be implemented with the help of the Kudumbashree units and other voluntary or non-governmental organisations. Meals will also be given to 1,000 people per day in each district with a reasonable price soon
The project will be extended to all panchayats in the next stage. It will be implemented with the help of service-minded people from the district. The response from the public and charitable organisations is unimaginable. People from all walks of life are ready to donate and join hands with the noble initiative of the government T V Anupama, District Collector
The charity of pain and palliative care societies initiated by the CPM and the efforts of the state government to bring down poverty have begun in Alappuzha, the land of labour revolutions
R Riyas, convenor of ‘Hunger-free Mararikulam’ project
The daily food is a donation by the grace of God. God entrusted the palliative society volunteers to serve food to poor people like me Chellappan, one of the beneficiaries in Mannancherry
poor people will be provided with meals every day in each district at a reasonable price soon
The project serves food to 300 needy persons in the municipality and neighbouring panchayats
Around J7,500 needed to prepare and serve food every day
Rice, thoran, aviyal, sambar and pickle are packed in casseroles and served to the poor before 12 noon every day. The quantity is sufficient for dinner as well
P Krishna Pillai Memorial Pain and Palliative Care Society in association with various local government institutions and voluntary organisations have been serving meals to 350 bedridden patients and poor people in and around Mararikulam
A NOBLE CAUSE
The government is also planning to serve food to the poor at low rates in the next stage. Meals will be served at H20 and breakfast will be served for H10
Beneficiaries were identified through a survey carried out by the Kudumbashree, ASHA and Anganwadi workers. The elderly people who will be alone at home after their children go for work have also been included