On April 4, Chembur resident Neha Sinha tweeted tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Sir, I have a 3.5 yrs old child suffering from autism and severe food allergies. He survives on Camel Milk and limited qty of pulses. When lockdown started I didn’t have enough camel milk to last this long. Help me get Camel Milk or its powder from Sadri (Rajasthan).”
The tweet activated people across geographies, from Odisha-cadre IPS officer Arun Bothra to railway officials in Rajasthan, and set off an entire chain of events that ended in 20 litres of frozen camel milk and 20 kg of camel milk powder landing at the Sinhas’ doorstep.
On seeing Sinha’s tweet, Bothra reached out to the Chief Passenger Transport Manager of North West Railway, Tarun Jain, to seek ideas on how to transport frozen camel milk from the supplier in Rajasthan to Mumbai. Jain, in turn, discussed the matter with Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Mahesh Chand Jewalia, after which parcel cargo train number 00902, running from Ludhiana to Bandra Terminus, was given permission to make an unscheduled halt at Falna station, near Ajmer.
“The supplier of the milk said he could send the consignment to Falna station, since that was the closest. But the station was not a scheduled halt and it was decided that the train would stop there nonetheless. The goods booking counter at the station was also opened to collect the parcel. Last night, we received confirmation that the camel milk from Rajasthan to Mumbai milk was picked up from Bandra station and reached the lady’s house by 8.30 pm,” said a senior official from the North West Railways.
In the meantime, given that Sinha was in dire need for camel milk for her child, Bothra contacted the owner of Aadvik Foods, a company that manufactures camel milk powder, and helped arrange 400 gm of the milk powder through a shop in Andheri. This was to ensure Sinha’s child had something to go on till the milk from Rajasthan reached them.
When contacted, Bothra said, “I was told that if the child doesn’t get camel milk, he could collapse within a week. The milk supplier had sent 20 litres of camel milk and 20 kg of camel milk powder through the train. I then received a similar request from another parent.”
The Sinhas then shared a portion of the milk and the powder with this other Mumbai-based family.
“My child is autistic and is allergic to several kinds of foods. He is only able to digest camel milk and has organic food. However, the availability of organic food has stopped because of the lockdown. Supplements were hard to find and my child was not able to eat anything. Eating only dal gave him an upset stomach, weakness and dysentery,” said Sinha, adding that the government should think of ways to help children with mental and physical challenges deal with the lockdown.
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