On Maharashtra Day, Pune residents distributed ration kits among 269 students from Tamenglong district of Manipur. “An official from Maharashtra, who is working in Manipur, had informed officials in Pune that students from Manipur were in distress and needed help,” said Vaibhav Wagh of Vandematram Sanghatna.
The Sanghatna, on Facebook, appealed to people to help. “In just over five hours, scores of people came forward to help,” Wagh said. The Sanghatna then distributed the ration kits among the Manipur students living primarily in Sangvi, Salisbury Park, Kondhwa and Koregaon Park area.
“The help means a lot to our students who had run out of food stock,” said Panmei Dihem, who is among those coordinating the relief work. “This stock will last for over a week. We have also received help from Kondhwa police and another organisation from Pimpri-Chinchwad has promised to reach out to the students,” Dihem said.
Several social and voluntary organisations, activists, industrial units and IT firms are extending a helping hand. Activist Laxmikant Khabiya and his group have reached out to at least 300 backstage artistes. “These artistes are paid daily. Now, with no shows, they have no income. We have provided them with 10-15 days of ration,” said Khabiya, who heads the Sharad Krida Sanstha.
Forty-year-old Sachin Phulfagar, who sets the stage at Balgandharva Rang Mandir, said the lockdown came as a blow to 20-30 of them. “We used to earn Rs 500 per day. But the lockdown has dealt a blow to us. We didn’t know how to feed our families.” However, the Sanstha reached out to them. “We have got ration to last 20 or more days,” he said.
An e-platform directory, WhatWhichWhere, is helping people make purchases in a short time. “We are often forced to visit three-four shops to buy our groceries. To ensure customers get what they want and at which place, we have started the platform,” said Suraj Singh Jhala, its co-founder, adding, “It is a central directory where you can find/register businesses that are located in your neighbourhood and are permitted to deliver or help you out with basic necessities.”
Hinjewadi-based NICE, a software solutions firm, is taking care of daily wage workers by providing them with groceries. “Our employees have also donated Rs 33 lakh to the PM’s fund,” said NICE India vice president VIjay Gonde.
Pune-based ABIL (Avinash Bhosale Group) has contributed Rs 1 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. It has also provided Rs 50 lakh to the district administration for disaster management. “In addition, ABIL has extended financial help of Rs 28 lakh to Sassoon hospital to procure Plasma Separator Machine.”
Kumar Properties has provided a ventilator to the hospital run by Pune Cantonment Board and medical equipment worth Rs 15 lakh to Sassoon hospital. “We have also provided free grocery of one month to about 2,500 construction labourers and donated Rs 11 lakh to CM’s Relief Fund,” said Manish Jain, Chairman and MD, Kumar Properties.
Force Motors has joined hands with Bharatiya Jain Sanghatna to provide medical help at the doorstep through “Doctor Aplya Daari” project. Over 80,000 people in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have benefited so far, said Prasan Firodia, MD, Force Motors.