Pune: After shops, restaurants, malls in the city have been closed till March 31, several organisations, students associations, political parties and individuals have come forward to distribute free meals, grocery items, medicines to the needy.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the city, the State government has ordered a complete shutdown and urged people to remain indoors or in quarantine.
Senior citizens to get doorstep help
As it is not possible for senior citizens to come out and buy products, 20 IT professionals have come forward to deliver free grocery items and medicines to them.
Dhanshri Dhokte, an IT pro, said, “As soon as we got work from home order, our office colleagues jointly decided to distribute medicines to senior citizens.”
“After we formed groups and circulated messages on social media on Saturday, I got at least 7 to 8 calls till date, most of them for medicines for senior citizens,” said Kunal Panchal, an employee from an IT firm in Hinjewadi. Actor Anand Ingale said, “I am also part of this service, but I want to appeal to people not to call or ask for anything if there is no need.”
Free meals to sanitation workers, students
Sarhad, a city-based NGO, has initiated a free-meal programme for the people in the city while the National Student Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of Congress, has also started a similar initiative. Sarhad founder Sanjay Nahar said, “Under this initiative, we have been providing daily meals to at least 5,000 people, who could not go back to their hometowns and are in dire need of meals. We are providing food packets daily two times from 12.30 pm to 2 pm and from 7.30 pm to 9 pm at 12 different locations in the city.”
Sarhad is providing free meals at centres at Laxmi Road (Tel no. 9921693175), Dnyaneshwar Paduka Chowk (7711993999), Poona Merchant Chambers (9373737999), Dandekar Bridge (8411991044).
NSUI member Manas Pagar said, “After the State government order to close all shops, restaurants, we have been providing free meals near Ahilaya Library on Shastri road, which people can take home.”
Free helpline for citizens
To strengthen citizen services, the city BJP unit has launched a helpline numbers 02025533444 and 8446016404, which can be helpful to tackle any emergency situation in the wake of coronavirus, said Jagdish Mulik, BJP city president.