Mumbai, May 26, 2020: The nationwide lockdown imposed has gravely impacted several areas and communities of Mumbai. The most affected of these are commercial sex workers, transgenders, daily wagers hailing from the overpopulated slum areas, and the diligent frontline workers. In a massive attempt to support the vulnerable groups in Mumbai, three highly regarded officers of the Indian Territorial Army have come forward to distribute ration and hygiene kits. The undertaking was successfully conducted in association with Mumbai Police, with the assistance of Additional Commissioner Central Region, Veeresh Prabhu, IPS. Essential kits were arranged and sponsored by NASSCOM Foundation, the social arm of the IT-BPM industry body, working towards the goal of social transformation
The initiative was undertaken by Major Pradeep Arya, IRS, SC; Captain Neil Shaji, VSM and Major Sanjay Raole to aid the vulnerable groups who lost their livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They successfully distributed these kits in the streets of Kamathipura and Falkland regions of Mumbai, home to innumerable sex workers and transgenders. This community is particularly hard-hit as their source of income is incurred daily.
“With the support and assistance of Mumbai Police and partnered NGOs, we were able to swiftly implement the first stage of this course. The distribution of the necessary kits began on Friday, May 22, and is to continue among other sectors and regions of Mumbai. Catering to the basic needs, each kit will contain not only groceries but also hygiene products. We aim to distribute 4500 ration kits and 4500 hygiene kits in the first stage.” said Captain Neil Shaji. Additionally, these assorted essential kits will also be distributed to similar regions of Sion-Agripada, Cotton Green, Charni Road and Kandivali.
“Our aim with this initiative is to support the vulnerable people and encourage them to stay home and not step outside to buy essentials. I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is complex, more so during these trying times” said Major Pradeep Arya, IRS, SC.
These kits contain 5 kg of wheat flour, 5 kg of rice, 2 kg of tur dal, 200 gms of turmeric powder, and chilli powder. Along with the ration kit, 3 soaps, 2 washing cloth soap, hand wash and sanitary napkin are also being distributed as part of the hygiene kit.
“On behalf of the entire team, we are thankful to everyone who contributed in every way possible no matter how big or small. A large number of livelihoods are affected by the lockdown, so as our duty we will continue to work towards the relief for the vulnerable groups in the days to come,” said Major Sanjay Raole.
The officers received the support of NGOs like Prerna Foundation, Apne Aap Collective, Rescue Foundation for their work with the Community Sex Workers and Arju Foundation for their assistance with the transgender communities. Through these associations, the Indian Territorial Army officers are able to penetrate the deepest corners of Mumbai to distribute and make available these crucial kits for all those in dire need.