|Food Distribution in K plot|
In face of the dire situation in Aila Affected areas, AID has approved Rs. 1,50,000 for distribution of food in the remote island of K-plot and Nagenabad area of Moipith island.
Food Distribution in K-Plot on Feb 17th
On Feb 17th, the BTS launch loaded with the food supplies loaded in its belly started off from Raidighi – 5500 Kg of rice, 4000 Kg of potato, 300 Kg of Nutrela and mustard oil each.
After a journey of 2 hours towards the Bay of Bengal, we approached the island of K-plot. We saw people hailing us enthusiastically from the banks of Thakuran. The open ocean was visible ahead of us. The launch had to remain a considerable distance from the banks because of the low tide. People from K-plot enthusiastically rowed 2 boats to the launch and began unloading the sacks of rice and potatoes.
Once on the shore, people carried the sacks of rice and potato on their heads over the embankments down to the BTS run child care centre where the distribution was supposed to take place.
Once on land, we heard that 500 families had turned up for the distribution of foodgrains when we had planned for 400. Collectively, we decided to give out a kilogram less rice to ensure that we can reach 500 families.
The original plan was to give out the following to a family:
10 Kg of rice, 6 Kg of potatoes, 500g of nutrela and 500g of mustard oil.
The food supplies might last the families no more than a week. But the resilient people of K-plot are not dependent on such relief and have been trying to work on NREGS schemes and other forms of riverine livelihoods. Work has been hard to come by and harder still the wages.
Many people on K-plot have been managing on one or two meals a day. It is specially difficult for older people and physically or mentally challenged people. Many people have taken to begging. Senior citizens do not receive any old age support here, neither are the challenged people recognized in the Government books. K-plot has a very high incidence of children and young adults with physical and mental disabilities.
Other Efforts in the area
Inspired by the idea of Old People’s Home in AID-Srikakulam, we are thinking of a similar concept of community kitchen for the most distressed people. People receiving the support will fully participate in the kitchen by cooking, cleaning and collecting fuel.
Some medium –term support in forms of hens, ducks or goats will help the most marginalized to get some livelihood and nutrition. In the longer term, AID has already been working on the revival of agriculture with the help of Revathi and DRCSC.
Needless to say, Revathi’s techniques have worked wonders even on such saline land. She has already visited the Sundarbans twice. We are planning to invite her this time to train trainers. The trainer farmers will then turn other farmers.
Groups working in the area are eager to use AID's Haybox. This saves 50% fuel while cooking rice. Without agriculture and the dwindling number of trees, there is a crisis of fuel in rural Bengal.
We have been talking to Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity for organizing people at the grassroots for demanding work under NREGS and timely payment of wages. Our reports have been widely circulated in the Government, so we hope the there will be some action from that end. Details on all of the above to follow soon.
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