How IAS officers in Raipur, Chhattisgarh are combating food scarcity in Corona Pandemic

The contemporary world is experiencing a sizable outbreak of deadly Corona Virus in present time. India is enduring this catastrophic pandemic from January 2020 and the number of infected people has spiked whopping numbers and still is on rise. It is estimated that this global disaster is costing the country in billions. When these disasters strike, the government along with disaster relief organizations has to be deployed to affected communities and there is an utmost need to typically mitigate and work closely with community leaders to identify and prioritize humanitarian needs like, ensuring the food supplies to the poor people, providing temporary shelter, or distributing hygiene kits.

Donation on Wheels – Unique Initiative 
Amid this crisis ‘Donation on Wheels’ a unique initiative which has been taken by the District Administration of Raipur to help needy people in Raipur during COVID-19 outbreak is a brain child of 3 IAS officers namely  IAS Dr. S. Bharathidasan (District Magistrate, Raipur), IAS Saurabh Kumar(Commissioner, Raipur Municipal Corporation) and IAS Gaurav Singh (CEO,  Zila Panchayat, Raipur). 

This program was initially started in Raipur district with a mission to improve the food scarcity in the area, health and lives of people affected by poverty during this emergency without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. This ‘Donation on Wheels’ assistance program is being tailored to the circumstances and needs of the districts most vulnerable and poverty stricken population. This targeted assistance is being provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served during this lock-down. It is serving food necessities to people and improving the food-relief of people living in high-need areas by strengthening the food distribution and increasing the access to appropriate food demands for those who are unable to meet up the food necessity of their families. This unique initiative was started from Raipur but at present has been implemented in 27 districts of Chhattisgarh
Helping the needy during lockdown
Keeping in mind the rules regarding the lockdown and limitations of both who need help and those who want to help. Through the ‘ donation of wheels ‘ the administration would reach every doorstep willing to donate, everyone who wants to feel the joy of giving can get to donate. In effect these are the wheels that connect the donor of charity to the donee of charity. Everyone donating anything whatsoever, without regard to the quantity, will be given a receipt and certificate. The ingenious transparent district administration endeavor will felicitate every donor with a certificate, irrespective of the quantity of donation. ‘Donation on Wheels’ is now collecting charity in the form of cash and kind. The system is as transparent as glass with the name number and vendor of every supply is being shared with their donor
From cash to kind
Not only through objects donated but even through cash donations the populace can contribute towards the endeavor by donating, the cost of a relief packet is Rs 350. The  ‘ Donation on Wheels’ shall take all donations by going to the house of the donor. Anyone willing to donate something towards the bona-fide attempt by the district administration may submit their name mobile number and address given in the creative issued by the District Administration. The first donation was made by the Chief Minsiter of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh baghel.
 
A unique and viable way to contribute 
‘Donation on Wheels’ program is a very active and easily accessible program and it operates at its best means so as to reach every such individual who is willing to contribute either in cash or through the stipulated goods of the relief kit. Amid the lockdown there are many individuals who are although willing to contribute for the welfare of the poor but due to this lockdown are not being able to do the same can avail this do-to-door service and therein may contribute according to their willingness In this a relief packet is being collected which is to contain 5Kg Rice, half Kg pulses, 250 Grams turmeric, 2 Kg Wheat flour, half Kg Salt and one toilet and detergent soaps each. The said relief packet is estimated to cost around Rs.350/- each and there is also a ‘donate through pay’ provision for those who cannot arrange for the paraphernalia as mentioned for the relief packet by paying Rs.350/- only for each packet to the volunteers of the program and hence donating the same to the needy.
 
Transparency at its best 
Transparency becomes a major substance when it comes to such programs therefore ‘Donation on Wheels’ is creating transparent, reliable, and cost-effective channels to achieve the goal of making food relief goods available for the needy and by working with local partners to assess, respond, and prepare for the long-term subsistence of such people without any discrimination till the corona virus situation gets under control. Keeping the above factor into consideration, for each donation the donor is entitled to a receipt reflecting all the details of their contribution thereof. This detailed receipt also comes with a unique transparency feature wherein the said receipt also bears all the details of those relief good suppliers from whom the organization shall buy the relief packet paraphernalia out of the monetary amount which the donor has contributed for this cause, this in turn ensures the donor that the donation amount is not being misused and also gives a scope for him to cross-check if at all any need be.
IAS officers working day and night to combat food scarcity 
The entire Donation on Wheels projects is carried and monitored by Collector of Raipur Dr. S. Bharathi Dasan (Batch 2006), Commissioner, Raipur Municipal Corporation, Mr. Saurabh Kumar (Batch 2009) and Zila Panchayat CEO Mr. Gaurav Singh (Batch 2013).

Our work is going on a war footing,” asserts Dr. S. Bharathi Dasan adding that the initiative has been an unprecedented success and the program is working on an expanded network of strategic partners who are working on this cause to leverage resources. Through this initiative we have distributed 1000 food packets to the local artist who are in dire need of support.
Raipur Municipal Corporation, Mr. Saurabh Kumar said that “We are getting positive response from the people of Raipur. “We took this initiative to mitigate the problem of food Scarcity” Raipur Zila Panchayat CEO Gaurav Sigh added that – Our donation drive was not just about going and collecting food. The drive also focused on sensitizing families on the importance of hand washing, social distancing, the importance of the quarantine period and basic personal and public hygiene behavior,”. He also added that “Till now, through the collection made by Donation on Wheels, we have distributed it to around 40 thousand needy persons and our team has also planned for a second phase distribution of 40 thousand packets. He also highlighted that the best part of this initiative is that now people are donating on their Birthday, anniversary, and special occasions. It has become a part of their socio-cultural ritual”. 
 
Rapid Action team on ground to rescue 

A Rapid action force is also working round the clock to rescue stranded and migrant workers. They carry dry and cooked food packets and provide it to the needy people in Raipur. Along with this, the rapid team also works actively in the night and till now they have rescued over 500 migrant workers and sent them to Institutional quarantine centers. 
 
Precautions by the Volunteers
The volunteers working within this program are also adhering to all precautionary measures during the distribution by using face masks, gloves and hand sanitizers, the volunteers are also maintaining a considerable distance with the recipients and donors. The Raipur District administration has left no stone unturned in this hour of crisis and what have been particularly impressive are regular briefings to the media where the DM takes all sorts of questions from journalists and in his characteristic calm demeanor, delivering information with real clarity.
This program’s success can be well assessed from the avid response of the people wherein they have started calling the vehicle and expressing their desire to help in a satisfactory response. This combination of the best of efforts, technology, and public policy approaches for the benefit of people in need shall always be a benchmark for the organizations and groups involved in disaster relief works.
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