Good samaritans come to the rescue of needy in Tripura

In the aftermath of the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 54 tea estates along with thousands of small tea gardens in Tripura had shut down operations leaving over 25,000 to 30,000 labourers, who are daily wagers, at their wits’ end.

By Sujit Chakraborty

Agartala, March 30 (IANS) While scientists, doctors, health workers, senior officials are busy fighting the novel COVID-19, a small trader, a poverty stricken woman and two sisters in Tripura donned the hats of good samaritans to help those struggling to meet their basic needs amid the lockdown.

Sujit Deb, a poultry trader in northern Tripura, last week delivered food and other essential commodities to poor tea garden workers.

Another good samaritan, a 39-year-old woman from a poor family, was seen making face masks from her old clothes and distributing these items among the needy free of cost.

Deb became the saviour for hundreds of tea garden labourers. He also distributed 5 kg rice, 500 gram dal (pulses) and soap each to 200 families, who used to survive from the wages they used to earn as workers in a tea estate in the Mayachari Gram Panchayat area in Dhalai district.

In the aftermath of the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 54 tea estates along with thousands of small tea gardens in Tripura had shut down operations leaving over 25,000 to 30,000 labourers, who are daily wagers, at their wits’ end.

The majority of these thousands of labourers have got very little to eat in the past several days.

“Four days back I have given rice, dal and soap to 200 families. I am trying to provide similar such essentials to these families again and other households who are in distress after the closure of their tea gardens,” Deb told IANS.

Deb alongwith his friends travelled around 8 km from his house at Mayachari village in two-wheeler, carrying the relief material.

“I have spent Rs 45,000 in buying the items. It was my hard-earned money,” the soft-spoken Deb said adding that he was incurring huge losses in his business ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 in India.

“When the news spread about the dreaded disease, almost all the people stopped consuming chicken and poultry products for fear that it carries the virus. Then, we have this lockdown that has kept people indoors. Now people have gradually started eating chicken and other poultry products after the scientists and government officials clarified that the novel coronavirus cannot be spread from animals and birds to human beings,” Deb stated.

Mallika Shil started making face masks from her old clothing. Mallika, the youngest in her five-member poor family at Khowai in western Tripura, told IANS : “I am unable to provide food and essentials to the hapless poor people. But I thought I must do something for the needy people. I had a very old stitching machine. Since Friday, I have started making face masks from my old clothing and distributing them free to the poor people.”

People from faraway places are coming to Mallika for the face masks.

After Sujit Deb and Mallika Shil, two sisters — Moonmoon Deb and Jui Deb — both government school teachers in Kamalpur in northern Tripura have become an example for others. Moonmoon and Jui donated Rs 5,000 each to the Tripura Chief Minister’s relief fund early last week.

Inspired by the two young teachers, many bank and government officials and traders of their Kamalpur sub-division too followed suit.

“My Facebook posts were shared by many and they also started contributing money to the CM’s relief funds to meet the expenses to deal with the treatment and spread of nCoV,” Moonmoon told IANS over phone.

Many clubs, organisations, NGOs, government officials and traders in Tripura are now contributing money and essentials either to the CM’s Relief Fund or directly to the poor people in need.

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