Coronavirus outbreak: Thank you for helping us, say Nepalese families stuck in Panvel

Updated: Apr 27, 2020, 07:26 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Nepalese families stuck in Panvel grateful to Raigad district collector for truck full of ration after hearing about their plight from mid-day reporter

One of the families that benefitted from the kits
One of the families that benefitted from the kits

Nepalese families living in Adai village, three-and-a-half kilometres from Panvel station, were taken by surprise on Saturday evening when a truck loaded with ration kits, arranged by the Raigad district collector and her team in Panvel, arrived at their doorstep.

The development came after this reporter brought the plight of the 150-200 Nepalese labourers to the notice of Collector Nidhi Choudhari for Sunday mid-day's April 26 report. The labourers' stock of food was set to finish on Saturday. "I am thankful to the authorities for hearing our plea and providing us with the kit," said Suraj Soni who came from Nepal a few months ago and has been working at a hotel. "After a very long time, we had black tea on Sunday morning. We could not afford tea powder. Moreover, the one-meal-a-day routine will continue as the stock needs to last for 10 more days. That's when we get the next kit," said Soni.

Watchman Dambar Bahadur Shahi, the labourers' Good Samaritan, said, "We had almost given up hope. They'd have gone completely hungry had the kits not arrived. We are happy that our plea was heard by the Raigad collector."

"The staff at the tehsildar's office asked for Aadhar card or bank passbook to be eligible for ration kits. But most of the labourers do not have those," added Shahi.

A staffer at the Panvel tehsildar's office said, "We have to maintain a record of people who get the ration, hence the enquiry about Aadhar cards. This is the first time that we are dealing with families from outside India. If they do not have ID cards, we will record their names and contact numbers."

'Gave them ration kits'
Choudhari said, "We have provided the Nepalese workers with ration kits consisting of rice, dal, wheat flour, tea powder, sugar, masalas, oil, salt, etc. These are given per household. Some purchases are done under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) at a subsidised rate from the Food Corporation of India and through various CSR support schemes in Raigad," Choudhari said.

Relief untill lockdown
When asked about the identification proof for eligibility for receiving the ration, Choudhari said, "As per central government's directives, we have to maintain a record of all beneficiaries. If they have a valid government ID, it is accepted."

Panvel tehsildar, Amit Sanap said, "When our team goes to deliver ration kits, even those who do not require the help join the queue. We have faced this problem earlier too." "Our motto is that no one should sleep hungry and we are doing everything possible to reach maximum migrants and daily wage earners. We are also feeding over 100 commercial sex workers in and around the Panvel area," said Sanap.

The relief will continue until the lockdown. "The kit will last five to seven days. It is uniform for everyone, irrespective of the number of family members. When families exhaust one kit, they may contact the concerned staff, whose contact has been provided, for the next lot."

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