IRCTC meets the challenge, while various Departments join hands to serve the Noble Cause
1, 17, 262 Free Food Packets distributed until 14th April, 2020.
Taking the cue from Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of Railways who called upon all the Railway Zones to reach out to needy sections of the society with Food and other assistance in the present challenging times owing to the Nationwide lockdown to curb spread of CORONA virus, South Central Railway has initiated a continuous plan of action to “Feed the Hunger’ of the people in need, commencing from 28thMarch, 2020.
In the last 19 days, the Zone has been able to distribute 1, 17, 262 free food packets at various locations all over the Zone, extending to parts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Towards the task, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) have been reigned in, which activated its Base Kitchen at Vijayawada and is serving the needs of Vijayawada and its precincts. Food is also being prepared at various other stations including Secunderabad in the most hygienic conditions for distribution. Yet another value addition is the effort being made to identify requirements and staple food habits of various needy sections of the people, so as to prepare the food to suit their habits and taste.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) wing of SCR joined in the task, with its personnel and resources, hugely contributing in undertaking the free food preparation and distribution besides co-ordinating and ensuring smooth execution of the task every day. A unique highlight of the free food distribution program is the involvement of all departments of the Zone, including Signal & Telecommunication Engineering, Commercial Department, Stores Department and Workshop, Lallaguda etc. In addition to pooling in resources and manpower, various departments have been in the forefront to organize and lead the free food distribution at several railway stations on the Zone, with support coming in from staff of the concerned wings. While Vijayawada Division tops the list in terms of total free food distribution till date, Guntakal, Hyderabad and Secunderabad Divisions too follow in the same order. The Guntur and Nanded Divisions have also lent their might to the mission.
Shri Gajanan Mallya, General Manager, SCR has been highly appreciative of the program, which crossed the one Lakh milestone, in terms of food packets distributed. He is personally monitoring the social activity, driving home the fact that the true value of humanity and service should come to fore during critical times and National emergencies. In his advice to senior officials from all Divisions through virtual communication, Shri Mallya sought a committed approach to the humane mission and called upon various departments and individuals to lend a helping hand, since any amount of support is less in the present situation. He reminded that Railways in India is known for being a service oriented organization and the present service of free food distribution to eliminate hunger is also a reflection of the motto.
The success of the initiative rests on the fact that, the major segment of the needy sections to which SCR has been reaching out every day, come from the migrant labour, particularly the daily wage labourers besides the Railway Licensed Porters and Safai Karmacharis. Keeping in view the curb on mobility on account of lockdown conditions and the resultant hardships faced, the Zone has gone beyond to reach out to several Old Age Homes, Hospitals etc, to distribute the free food at their door steps. Food along with fruits was also distributed to a sizeable group of needy persons near Kasapuram Temple at Guntakal. With Railway stations coming in handy for organizing the daily task, it is being ensured that social distancing and other such aspects of crowd control is maintained perfect, giving no scope for any untoward risks associated with the dreaded virus.
The Divisional Railway Managers of all the Divisions are also involved in executing the task and to liaise with the State Governments, IRCTC, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) etc, which has been a crucial factor to the success of the free food distribution program, which will continue until the lockdown. Groups of railway employees from various offices and individuals too have been continuously supplementing the Noble Cause in immense measure.