Sometimes individuals can rise beyond organizations and make a huge difference. Suresh Ediga, volunteer of AID-NJ chapter and myriad other causes has been calling Members of Parliament (MPs) in India to find out what they are doing and urges them to contribute their MP funds for tackling the COVID-19 crisis. He also engages them in local actions that could be taken.
Here is how his latest call went this week:
MP#1 – Rajasthan
Suresh: “I’m calling you to request your help with the Coronavirus situation. Can you please donate your MPLAD fund to this cause”
MP: Yes, I’ve already given 16 lakhs to the CMs fund
Suresh: How about the remaining money, you have 5 crores.
MP: (After a pause), yes will donate as and when the need arises
Suresh: There are migrant workers from Rajasthan who are left stranded in Ahmedabad. After the lockdown they were abandoned and now are trying to get back home. Can you please help make some private transportation arrangements?
MP: If you have the videos, send it to the government and send it to the prime minister
Suresh: So, you can’t do anything?
MP: Send it to the govt. Make the video viral
Suresh: Sir, not every video will go viral. But are you saying you can’t do anything?
MP: No the government is there to work
Suresh: Sir, I’ve got the video. I can send it to you. You can use this video and help do something. This is a desperate situation
MP: Ok, send me the video
Would you like to join Suresh and others calling MPs?
How do we get the numbers of our parliamentarians?
For LokSabha members – http://loksabhaph.nic.in/Members/membercontactdetails.aspx
For RajyaSabha members – http://18.104.22.168/Business_Publishing//LOM/2_Eng.pdf
Last week Suresh had posted an update:
I’ve been calling MPs and requesting them to
1) Use MPLAD funds for fighting the CoronaVirus
2) Help with coordinating logistics in their constituencies
3) Provide transportation for migrant workers/food/shelters
I’ve called almost 23 MPs and spoke to about 12 MPs so far. Here is the gist of the conversation
1) Some MPs agreed to use their MPLADs and agreed to help out
2) Some MPs were unmoved by the plight of the migrant workers
So far no MP I spoke to had any details of day to day activities they were doing in their constituency in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Ideally, the MPs and the MLAs should be forthcoming and regularly interacting at least with the people of their constituency.
If there are homeless people, migrant workers stranded, why can’t schools, universities, other public institutions, stadiums be converted into temporary shelter homes Or why can’t busses be arranged for migrant workers so they can go back home, with the MPLAD funds?
We must all put pressure on our MPs to deliver. This is the time for our public representatives to be more proactive and be aggressive in taking on this fight. This is the time their voice matters.
I’m not expecting miracles from the MPs, I’m just expecting them to do their jobs and so far except for one MP, everyone else seemed indifferent. And remember the 21 day lockdown is to help India ramp up its efforts in its fight against the virus and this needs everyone’s contribution in every which way possible