Lockdown blues and Survival of the Homeless:
Lockdown blues has taken a toll on some people’s lives, as regular life has been disrupted. Amidst the 21 days lockdown, which has now been extended till 3rd of May, daily wage earners, working class people are facing huge challenges. For majority of groups, this is an uncertain situation, where they do not know what the near future holds.
The Baruipur Police Team distributing all the essential food items to the shelter homes , to the people in distress, migrant labours, daily labours who lost their work in lock down.
In this dire situation, multiple steps are being taken up by the Police to ensure that people in distress like daily wage earners and migrant workers have something to eat to tide over the next few days. The Baruipur Women’s Police Station has taken a pledge to reach out to the homeless and orphans too, to distribute food and other products during the crisis. “The lockdown seems to be endless and during this period we have seen how daily wage earners are struggling to survive. “There are 18 Homes under our purview and by distributing food and other essential items such as rice, biscuit, puffed rice, milk , egg and potatoes,we can ensure that children are well fed and so are the adults staying at shelter Homes”, Says Rashid Munir Khan, IPS the Superintendent of Police at Baruipur police District.
The children and adults in different shelter Homes who are given their meals if required and are supplied other food supplements along with mask , sanitizer to fight against COVID 19.
A shelter above their heads:
Kakali Ghosh, Inspector, Baruipur Women’s Police Station, who also looks after the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in her sub-division feels extremely grateful that they have been able to reach out to 850 people on a regular basis and providing them cooked food. In Baruipur police distrcts, there are few shelter homes not recognized by the Govt where there are many helpless orphans who are being fed by Women Police Station . Street children, jobless daily labours, rickshaw pullers are fed regularly by the entire Baruipur District police team. The police Superintendent himself along with other officials distributed rice, pulse, potato to 1000 poor families and the total police team is fighting against hunger of common people.
They are being regularly looked after by the Baruipur Women Police station who ensure that necessary food items and products are reaching the helpless. “This initiative is not just for the lockdown, but the programme started way before the lockdown, though the current situation has made things worse for them, as they cannot venture out and gather anything. We have distributed masks, sanitizers and soaps as well.”Said Kakali Ghosh who is trying her best to distribute food supplies and other essential items to everyone.
“We are distributing all types of food supplements such as rice, atta, biscuits,soyabeans , oil, egg, baby food and other food items to different shelter Homes, based on their individual requirements. Children and babies need milk and biscuits. We are trying to provide liquid milk and milk powder ,biscuit, cake to children.Many big companies like ITC and Parle G have distributed hundreds of liquid milk packets and biscuit packets to us, so that we can dispense it the Homes and to the distressed families. Also many businessmen,service men, common people , Clubs and associations like JITO, Punjabi Beradari are sending eggs, rice chicken to us which is a massive thing for us.” Adds Ghosh who maps where to allocate food items looking at which homes who are falling short of particular items and they are being given to them right away.“ Government is extending all types of support and this has been possible because of the unity we have in Baruipur Police and the kind gestures of the people who are willing to help voluntarily.” Ghosh further explains..
Lockdown And It’s Impact On Different Strata Of Society:
The lockdown has been like a curse for many without shelter and itinerant people, who cannot gather their daily food items. Ghosh along with her team has tirelessly worked, despite the hurdles and challenges, providing all necessary food items and ensuring their timely medical check up to all the children and elderly people. Many of them are stuck in these homes and have no way to get themselves to get any medical treatment, if any emergency occurs.
“Doctors of Remedy Hospital and Dr Abhijeet Banerjee of Baruipur regularly comes for treatment at these shelter Homes, old age Homes, Swadhar Homes. Also, apart from providing food and appropriate medical treatment to the homes, we distribute food to 850 people and people have been segregated in groups of 50, which consists of rickshaw pullers to daily wage earners and construction workers, who are given full cooked meal once in a day.” Says Ghosh while explaining how the food distribution system takes place.
Lockdown Blues: Treating Sex Workers:
The team also extends help towards sex workers and their children at red light area. The outbreak of the coronavirus has made it’s presence felt in their lives as well, who are now helpless in the face of the virus outbreak. Most of them do not how to deal with the situation and are unsure as to how they will now continue to provide services and gather food for themselves.
Ghosh further mentions how they go about working in this area. “It is a very noble deed done by World Vision NGO and we are obliged to them,because they have given almost 25 kgs of rice,pulse,oil, potatoes ,soyabean etc to the human trafficking survivers.This is for people living in brothels and other human trafficking survivors and the NGO has also arranged for their meals partially. International Justice Mission , another NGO provided food essentials for migrant labours of brick fields. Simultaneously, we are helping HIV positive children and drug addicted children , elderly citizen and adults staying at Shelter Homes ” Shares Kakali Ghosh, who is taking it up as a noble responsibility as a fellow citizen.
Lives have come to a standstill as the coronavirus outbreak seems to have covered the world like a canopy. Many people continue to lead their lives seamlessly at home, but daily wage earners have to face a daily challenge as their survival seems to be at stake. The Baruipur Police team are doing a noble deed by gathering people from different strata of society from different shelter homes and ensuring to their best that they are no longer feel helpless and alone. It is about a touch of humanity where the Baruipur team is reaching out to people, providing them basic meals and giving them hope for survival as long as the lockdown continues.