08, Apr 2020 | CJP Team
CJP has been at work non-stop to help provide rations and essentials to low-income families across Mumbai to help them tide over the Covid-19 lockdown. Our relief efforts are on day and night and even on the weekends.
On Saturday, April 4, Teesta Setalvad, made arrangements for relief supplies for 50 families in Beed in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Setalvad had earlier in the week received a call for help from a local contact.
The nationwide lockdown has adversely impacted the livelihood of daily-wage earners and people in low-income jobs. Families of thela-wallas, taxi and auto rickshaw drivers, vegetable vendors, carpenters, scrap purchasers, delivery boys, waiters, domestic helps, people with HIV/AIDS, transgender persons, sex workers, orphans and destitute people need our urgent help to tide over the COVID crisis. CJP has partnered with several like-minded organisations to provide ration and essential supplies to over 5,000 such families across the Mumbai Metropolitan region. We urge you to donate generously so that nobody goes to bed hungry.
Meanwhile, our operations continued in Mumbai’s Malwani area where groceries and other essentials were distributed to low-income families. We also delivered rations to 84 families of kadia workers (masons), carpenters, other daily wage workers and migrant labourers in Chandrabainagar, Juhu. Here are some images of our relief efforts on Saturday, April 4.
Ration distribution also took place in Mangelwadi in association with local volunteers and Shiv Sena Shakha Pramukh Sharad Prabhu. This initiative has been going on for nearly a week and the beneficiaries are 250 low-income families.
We also helped Khurshid Appa, who runs a tiffin delivery service in Khiranagar, with rations not just for her, but also 20 other women led households where supplies were dwindling fast and the absence of income was proving to be a deterrent in replenishing them.
Also over the weekend, we had the honour to serve another set of migrant labourers, this time hailing from Odisha and also Birbhum in West Bengal. CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad was contacted by former Member of Parliament from Odisha Kalikesh Singh Deo who brough to our notice the plight of Odiya labourers. We also received an SOS from Bangali Sanskriti Manch. We immediately swung into action and helped provide rations to 49 such families livng in Andheri (West), Saki Naka, Vikhroli and even Chembur! Here’s what some of them had to say:
“When the lockdown started, we weren’t aware of how long it would last. When we realised it was for long, we used whatever money we had for rations and other essentials. However, it was not enough,” said 31-year-old Nayanchand Mondal who originally hails from Murshidabad. He has been living and working in Mumbai as a construction worker for 10 years. Mondal is the sole wage earner for 10 people in his family back home in West Bengal. “Once our supplies ran out, we got to know that CJP was helping out via Whatsapp messages from other people from our village living in Mumbai,” added Mondal.
Tufan Sheikh has been living in Mumbai for the past 20 years and works at building construction sites. “I just brought my family from Birbhum this year as the situation in the village was dire. Since the lockdown we have been home for a month. As I’m a daily wager, we needed money to buy ration but I could not even collect my salary,” said Sheikh explaining his plight.
“Before the lockdown, we had already sent money back home. But we managed somehow with what we had left. Our employer arranged for a meal a day, but we were in severe need for rations,” said Pravin Rana a construction worker who hails from Kitlagarh in Odisha. “We came here as a group from our village. When we ran out of money and rations, we called people from our village to send help. They connected us with CJP,” explains Rana.
“I’m feeling better now that we have received rations. But we are still very concerned about our family back home,” said Kamaruj Jaman a 28-year-old daily wager from Kolkata. “Initially we were fine because we thought the lockdown was for just a day, but then it got extended and we were worried about getting food,” he said.
Some images of this food supply distribution drive may be viewed here:
Also, on the same day, we provided relief packages to families of 70 rickshaw drivers in Indiranagar, Juhu and 70 migrant labourers hailing from different parts of India living in Mangelwadi in Santacruz.
CJP team had been making multiple trips to the APMC market in Vashi and we managed to get a generous potato-onion dealer to not only offer us supplies as a discounted rate, but he also contributed 300 kilograms of bananas to our food distribution drive. CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad spoke to a representative of Shiv Sena MLA from Worli Aditya Thackeray who also serves as a Cabinet Minister in the Maharashtra government and offered to send these bananas to families trapped in the quarantine zone in Worli. He was touched and that is exactly what we did. We also supplied some of the bananas to quarantined families at Poddar Hospital.
Food packet distributions also took place in Malvani on Sunday, this time in association with the Disha Foundation. Some images may be viewed here:
We wrapped up our Sunday deliveries by providing rations to a five-member family of a Bengali migrant labourer living in kopar Khairane in Navi Mumbai. Are relief efforts are growing stronger and spreading wider each day. Watch this space for more!