Other States

Auto driver’s gesture adds wheels to succour in Arunachal

An auto driver who donated all his cash despite not having enough to eat has helped the police in an Arunachal Pradesh district add wheels to a community kitchen concept that has become the template for others to follow.

Sanjay Kumar Sain, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Lower Dibang Valley was touched when the elderly Ganesh Das stepped into his office on April 16 to hand over a bunch of notes totalling ₹1,000 for an initiative the district police had launched to feed elderly, migrant labourers and other daily wagers.

“He said it was his responsibility to give back to Roing for giving him so much all these years. He was apologetic for not being able to donate more,” Mr. Sain told The Hindu from district headquarters Roing.

Moved, the SP dropped him home along with 20 kg of rice and other essentials.

Mr. Das is one of some 70 auto-rickshaw operators in Roing town, which has about 11,500 of the district’s 54,000 people. He came from Bihar in the mid-1980s and has been ferrying people to sustain his four-member family.

Hardest hit

His gesture made Mr. Sain turn his attention to auto-rickshaw drivers, who were among the hardest hit by the lockdown. Mr. Das and seven others were accordingly roped in for the district police’s community kitchen and ration delivery service.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu had on April 8 lauded the service and termed it as a model for replicating elsewhere in the State.

Sushant Saurabh Jha, the nodal officer of the District Police COVID-19 Control Room said the SP and some 300 police personnel, local MLAs and community leaders pooled in resources to start the community kitchen. A few of the SP’s batch-mates have been contributing too.

“We started the community kitchen on March 23 for daily-wagers and their families living around each police station and outpost in the district. We have been feeding some 870 people daily,” Mr. Jha said.

For migrant workers elsewhere, the police have been delivering ration and locally-grown vegetables twice a week.

Using auto-rickshaws

“From Monday, we will be using eight auto-rickshaws, including the one Mr. Das drives for this service, instead of our own vehicles,” Mr. Jha said.

Each auto-rickshaw driver would be paid a stipend for the service besides fuel for their vehicles.

“All this has been possible because of the primarily Adi and Idu Mishmi people who have been generous, apart from assisting us to keep coronavirus off the district,” Mr. Sain said.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 9:30:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/auto-drivers-gesture-adds-wheels-to-succour-in-arunachal/article31381468.ece

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