The distribution of prepared food and dry ration in Bengaluru continues to be dogged with problems with the State government yet to segregate those who receive dry rations from those who receive prepared food daily. The gap between demand and supply has increased to about 50%.
While nearly 93,000 food packets are being distributed twice daily, the Labour Department is yet to ascertain if there was duplication in distribution in that the same household is getting both prepared food as well as dry ration. The one lakh dry ration hampers prepared by the department was supplied by BBMP, allegedly under political pressure, and it is now turning out to be difficult to trace families that are getting dry ration.
“The Labour Department is now in the process of coordination with BBMP,” a department official acknowledged. He also said that the distribution of prepared food had become a Herculean task, and the gap between demand and supply was almost 50% . “The quality of food is good and demand over the last few days has been increasing. We are now supplying 93,000 food packets twice a day,” the official said.
Meanwhile, several donors who had committed to distribution of food at the local level have withdrawn. “These donors had committed to feeding 13,000 people and they are exhausted now, which is increasing the load on the government,” an official said.
They pointed out that of the 93,000 prepared food packets that were being sent, 67,000 are paid for by the government, and the remaining came from the donors.
A trade union leader involved in relief work also acknowledged that the demand for food packets had been steadily increasing as workers now are aware of the quality of food and timeliness of distribution. “Where initially, we had assessed and distributed 2,000 to 2,500 packets, we have recalibrated the demand to be around 9,000. Similarly, the demand has gone up in city’s outskirts where large clusters of construction workers are present. Overall, the distribution and reach to construction and migrant workers has stabilised,” the union leader said.
No wireless sets
The Police Department has turned down Labour Secretary P. Manivannan’s request for wireless sets to be used by Labour Department and Department of Information to monitor the COVID-19 situation in and around Bengaluru. The request for 25 sets was made by the Labour Department that is implementing free food supply to migrant and construction workers.