Strict importance is given to physical distancing even during food distribution Credit: Facebook image

Guwahati: The city of Guwahati in Assam is among the places with the highest concentration of migrant labour population, hence it has been hit the hardest due to the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown. These daily-wage labourers are among the underprivileged sections that have been battling to get two square meals a day amid the lockdown.

Khalsa Centre North East (KCNE) is tackling this problem by preparing langars for 3,000-4,000 people every day. “I have been a resident of Guwahati for about 27 years now and I have never seen so many people fighting daily to get their basic meals as I see it now,” said Pushp Paul Singh, chairman of the committee.

A hungry child having food served at a ‘langar’

Singh, also a senior journalist, has been spearheading the food movement for quite some time now. “We have been providing food to 1,500 people daily to the patients of Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute since February 13, 2019, so we have been equipped with preparing hygienic food in bulk amounts,” he said.

Realising that these lockdowns will ultimately be hitting hard on the daily-wage labourers who won’t even be able to gather the barest minimum food, Singh appealed to his friends and dear ones on Facebook.

“Help started pouring down from all parts of the country regardless of religion, geography or work,” he said. These include his previous colleagues, his friends from the Army and even from Arunachal as well.

With the finances in hand, the KCNE approached the DC for permission to provide food to the needy. Armed with the permission, the organisation went to various places of Kamrup Metro and Rural districts to deliver their langar.

“We are now focusing solely on Kamrup (M) as there are a lot of places that require immediate attention and help,” he said.

People from Northeast Frontier Railway even reached out to them for their help and have been taking the langar to the daily-wage labourers near Azara and New Guwahati railway stations. On average the organisation feeds 3,000-4,000 people daily. “Let this be a human movement against hunger,” said Singh.

A father helping his son to have the langar provided by the Khalsa Centre North East

“I also make sure that the underprivileged follow the strict rules of physical distancing as they line up to get their food,” added Singh. The sight of people running towards the vehicles laden with food with a hunger-stricken face is heart-wrenching. However, this is a medical emergency as well so Singh realises that their help will not be fruitful if the proper rules of physical distancing are not maintained.

The organisation even has a designated area at Gurudwara Nanak Darbar Morakhali near Gate No 2 Nehru Stadium, Guwahati where people who are in dire need of food can come any time between 10 am and 5 pm on all days and have food till the lockdown gets over.

In these trying times, philanthropic actions as such bring us a step closer to win this war against COVID-19 as a community and not as an individual upholding the views of a true coronafighter.

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