ALAPPUZHA: As the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have forced the majority of people to remain in the comfort of their homes, a large number of others still remain on the streets either because they have nowhere to go or don’t know where they belong to. Hundreds of such people are now safe in the hands of Theruvoram Murugan and his NGO.
The lockdown is not a barrier for Murugan and his co-volunteers to rescuing people from the streets. They have so far rescued 701 people from the streets of the state in the past 38 days. They shifted nine people from Alappuzha district to the rescue home of Theruvoram, the NGO, at Kakkanad, Kochi, on Thursday alone.
According to S Murugan, the majority of the rescued people are from outside the state and mentally challenged. “People from Jharkhand, Karnataka, Orissa, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi who were wandering at Mararikulam, Aroor, Poochakkal, Pattanakkad, Thuravoor, Kuthiyathodu and Cherthala were rescued on Thursday. Film actor Vinu Mohan and wife Vidya are also in the team to save and clean people,” Murugan said.
Of the 701 people rescued from the streets from March 23, 49 are housed in the rescue home of Theruvoram at Kakkanad. The remaining people were sent to the government shelters in various districts.
“Before lockdown, we used to move around in a van to rescue people. After the lockdown was imposed, the vehicle movement became difficult because all district borders were closed by police.
We then approached the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) for help and Vinu Mohan took the initiative and arranged an ambulance with a toilet facility which can keep more than 250 litres of water to give the rescued people a bath. Another ambulance was arranged by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation,” Murugan said. “If a person in distress is found on the street, we give the person a haircut, bath and new dresses. All necessary precautions as per the Covid protocol are taken while handling people.”
Vinu Mohan and wife Vidya have been associated with Theruvoram for the past many years. “After I presented the NGO’s need before AMMA leaders, including Mohanlal and Mammootty, they showed interest and allotted an ambulance,” Vinu said. The team has already covered eight districts during lockdown and it will continue its rescue efforts in the coming days, Murugan said. “Around `10,000 is needed for the daily expense of the volunteer team, including the fuel charge of the ambulance and buying new dresses for street people,” Murugan said.Murugan lives with wife Indu , son Harishankar and parents. His wife is a social worker.