Rajankunte GP has come to the rescue of migrant workers

BENGALURU: When the first of the Covid-inducted lockdowns was announced in March, the Rajankunte gram panchayat set out a simple mission statement for itself: no one goes hungry. Located about 30km from the capital city, the gram panchayat (GP) has spent more than Rs 60 lakh so far to feed labourers, homeless and the poor — through cooked meals and ration kits. And the money has all come from contributions: from staff members, local organisations, business establishments, elected representatives and individual donors.
“Initially, we contributed money from our pockets. Later, we approached some organisations for help,” said M Thimmareddy, former GP member. “There was some opposition initially over risk of infection when we opened a free canteen. But as the response was good, we extended the service to corona warriors. We have also provided ration kits to around 3,000 families who were left jobless due to the lockdown.”
Canteen feeds 300 people a day
The canteen, named after the chief minister, feeds around 300 people a day, Thimmareddy added. “Besides organisations and businessmen, farmers donated vegetables and foodgrains on a daily basis.” Villagers are now even celebrating their birthdays and other occasions by sponsoring a day’s meals for the poor.
Panchayat development officer Rajesh HR said: “When lockdown was imposed, our GP members took a resolution to launch ‘Hasidavarige Anna’ programme to ensure no one goes hungry in our limits.” Since then, the six villages that make up the GP — Attiganahalli, Sriramanahalli, Sadenahalli, Adde, Vishwanathpura and Ittagallapura — have sheltered many workers from North Karnataka and north India. “We’re taking up disinfection, sanitisation and awareness works jointly with government departments and ASHA workers,” Rajesh said.
Over the past four years, the GP has won two national and two state awards for its endeavours. “Rajankunte is one among best GPs of the state. It’s doing well in Covidcontrol measures and migrant workers’ relief. It has started a community kitchen and also distributed masks and sanitisers,” said Uma Mahadevan, principal secretary of rural development and panchayat raj.

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