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Coronavirus | Jadavpur University students, alumni form network to help needy

90.8 Community Radio JU is east India’s first community radio, started in 2008 with a reach of 10-km radius.

90.8 Community Radio JU is east India’s first community radio, started in 2008 with a reach of 10-km radius.  

The driving force behind this initiative is 90.8 Community Radio JU, which has opened a Facebook page — Radio JU Fight against COVID-19 — so that people can ask for help.

Present and former students of Jadavpur University (JU), spread out in different parts of Kolkata and West Bengal, are connecting on social media in a big way to reach essentials to the needy in the city and the State during the lockdown. The driving force behind this initiative is 90.8 Community Radio JU, which has opened a Facebook page — Radio JU Fight against COVID-19 — so that people can ask for help.

The channel is east India’s first community radio, started in 2008 with a reach of 10-km radius, but following the lockdown it has suspended operations and using its resources to reach out to people through social media.

Its students are also running community kitchens in the university and in places outside Kolkata such as Bardhaman, Bandel and 24 South Parganas. “Food is being mainly distributed in places where the population density is high — to the homeless and to migrant workers,” said Iman Kalyan Lahiri, who is the convenor of the community radio and also teaches international relations at the university.

Vast alumni network

“We are also using the vast network of our alumni to help people in distress. Someone happens to be a top police officer in one place, another happens to be a senior government officer in another place, and so on — these are people who respond to the calls we make on behalf of citizens who are in need,” Mr. Lahiri told The Hindu.

“If someone is headed to, say, the bank and the bank happens to be at some distance from home, we ask such people to inform us beforehand so that we can speak to the policemen concerned on his behalf. In fact the other day, we got a call from an elderly couple in north Kolkata who wanted to visit the ATM. We called up the local police station for help, and, to our surprise, a police vehicle went to their home, took them to the ATM and dropped them back,” he said.

“On a daily basis we are handling 70-80 calls. The number of people associated with our initiative is growing by a few thousand every day. Our top priority is to feed the hungry and reach essential supplies to the elderly and the disabled living alone,” Mr. Lahiri said.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 8:26:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-jadavpur-university-students-alumni-form-network-to-help-needy/article31253545.ece

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