Tamil Nadu

Kamal Haasan launches volunteer initiative to help Chennai in fight against COVID-19

Actor turned politician Kamal Hassan

Actor turned politician Kamal Hassan   | Photo Credit: R. RAVINDRAN

Mr. Haasan said the initiative, ‘Naame Theervu’ is aimed at providing medical help, as well as protective equipment in places where people get together

Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan on Friday launched ‘Naame Theervu’ (We are the solution) project – an initiative to bring volunteers together and help Chennai, which is struggling to control the spread of COVID-19.

Mr. Haasan said that while the State and Central governments have made mistakes, this is not the time for criticism.

“We have gotten tired of waiting [thinking] they will do something. Naame Theervu is an attempt to do something on our behalf. Lakhs of people began helping people on their own thinking that they are the only solution. This is an effort to create a movement to save Chennai. We are creating a volunteer army to care for people who require it as we come out of the lockdown,” said Mr. Haasan.

Mr. Haasan said that the initiative is to provide medical help and protective equipment in places where people get together. He Haasan said that Naame Theervu will have volunteers working across language, caste and party affiliation to work for those that are in need, in Chennai.

“Chennai is known for being a medical capital and we shouldn’t make it the Corona capital. We have already made our criticism about what the governments could have done, but this is not the time for criticism or petty politics. This is the time for us to become our own solution,” said Mr. Haasan.

He said that this was the time to do something constructive.

“We have passed the stage of throwing criticisms at the governments. The waves of COVID-19 will be coming back again and again. No State government can fight this alone. The State government should accept the help of volunteers, and governments such as Kerala and Odisha who have succeeded in some way -- it is because they took help from people and volunteers. More than criticism, this approach would be a good strategy,” said Mr. Haasan.

Mr. Haasan also defended the removing of certain lockdown restrictions as lack of economic activity has imposed a heavy price on the poor and working classes who earn by the day, he said.

In such a scenario, Mr. Haasan said that there is a need to reiterate to the people in public places to follow physical distancing, to wash hands and use hand sanitizers and masks. “It is true that the lockdown has been removed, but the poor cannot handle one more lockdown. The rich and upper middle classes can sustain themselves for some more time. We have to think about what precautions can be taken in such a scenario,” he said.

“When each of us saves one person, no one will be left behind. People are the solution to those who need medical assistance, safety equipment, sanitisers and food and rations. Sanitiser dispensers will be kept at places where people gather frequently. Masks will be distributed as well. We need the participation and contribution of volunteers to take this forward,” he added.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 5:39:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/kamal-haasan-launches-volunteer-initiative-to-help-chennai-in-fight-against-covid-19/article31758037.ece

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