Inspired by her services to migrants during lockdown, Ramu sets up ‘Rice ATM’ at L.B. Nagar
Inspiration can come from any quarters and need not necessarily be from people of high positions or name and fame, as Laxmamma and her daughter-in-law have proved.
Laxmamma, a watch woman, and her daughter-in-law Ranjitha, who work in apartments for a living, cooked food for about a dozen migrant labourers and served them on April 12. She prepared the food from the ration rice they were getting. It was almost three weeks after lockdown was announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone was even fearing to allow others nearby.
“All of them are labourers from other states and do not even know the local language. Who can trust them and extend financial assistance? How can they survive without work and where can they go?” was what Lakshmamma had to say when Dosapati Ramu, an employee in an IT firm, asked her why and how she was able to serve so many people. This forced Ramu to introspect, who felt that when a watchwoman can do this, then why can’t he. This resulted in the establishment of Rice ATM at LB Nagar on April 13. From that day on to May 21, in about 38 days Mr. Ramu spent as much as ₹ 3.75 lakh to serve the needy. He even withdrew ₹ 3.2 lakh from his provident fund account. About 200 migrant workers were given rice, vegetables and grocery material. At times Mr. Ramu himself carried the rice bags and other materials in a two-wheeler and extended assistance at the doorsteps of the needy.
“From April 13 to September 21, for the past 160 days people are coming here and collecting rice and vegetables. About 16,000 families have been benefited. More than 500 teachers working in private schools came here seeking assistance, from as far as Miyapur. The number of people coming here varies between 25 and 100 every day. They include youths who served food during functions for food caterers, bouncers, cab and auto drivers,” Mr. Ramu told The Hindu, adding that so far they have spent about ₹ 16 lakh for groceries, in addition to other expenses.
Three types of kits containing rice, oil, sugar, turmeric and chilly powder — sufficient for 5 days, 15 days and one month — are being prepared and extended to the needy depending on their requirement. One-month kit is being given to elderly couples, while 15 days kit is for those who are able to earn but in trouble and 5 days kit is for those working on daily wages.