Every morning, patients in the Government Hospital in Kundapur town wake up to the news of the world. Spread before them would be the free copies of English and Kannada newspapers delivered by a good Samaritan.
Shankar Acharya, owner of the Acharya Book Stall in the town, who sells and distributes newspapers, has been rendering this novel service for more than two years now.
Popularly known “Paper Acharya”, he has been providing free copies of four English and six Kannada newspapers to all the patients at the town’s Government Hospital. On any day, there are about 50 to 60 patients in the hospital.
This service helps caregivers who sit with the patients to pass their time or read out the news to the patients. All these newspapers are stamped with the message: “Please the read the newspaper and also pass it to others to read.”
Private hospital fund
Mr. Acharya also sells about 30 newspapers to five private hospitals in the town without taking any commission on the copies. The money collected by selling the newspapers is deposited in the concerned hospitals. “This money would be used to help poor patients who come to treatment in the private hospitals,” Mr. Acharya said.
Mr. Acharya began this novel service on November 1, 2010. The money collected as deposit in the private hospitals till date stood at 2.75 lakh. Of this, Rs. 1.5 lakh was spent on paying bills of poor patients.
How did he hit upon this novel idea? Mr. Shankaracharya said that in 2008, both his father and mother had become ill and admitted to a hospital. While he was in the hospital to take care of them, he realised that it was difficult to spend time. This was when the novel idea of providing newspapers to hospitals occurred to him, he said.
But it was only in November 2010, after 25 years in the newspaper distribution business, that he put his idea into practice. On July 28, 2013, this unique service of providing newspapers to hospitals would complete 1,000 days.