Aahar centres providing cooked meals as takeaways despite the lockdown.
While Covid-19 sees a growing number of ailing persons being hospitalised, their near and dear ones, waiting outside the hospitals for days, also undergo enormous problems.
As many Indian states have imposed curfews and restricted the timings for grocery shops, accessing food is one of the biggest challenges that relatives face, though fortunately most of the patients get some food at the hospitals.
To overcome this problem, the Odisha government has ensured that its popular Aahar centres, which provide a decent cooked meal for a mere Rs5 (25 fils), are available as takeaways to people despite the lockdown.
The government operates 164 Aahar centres across the state, including in the 114 urban centres. And thousands of people, including relatives of patients at hospitals, the jobless and those without any source of income, throng these places and collect a decent lunch or dinner just for Rs5 each.
“My mother is admitted to hospital for her kidney problem,” Subrat Rout, who lives in Bhubaneshwar, told a journalist.
“It is difficult to go home for food because of lack of transportation. This Aahar centre is a great help for us and hundreds of other healthcare workers, sweepers, security guards, ambulance drivers and even slumdwellers.”
While the initial statewide lockdown in Odisha saw even the Aahar centres being closed, the state government realised the problem and promptly allowed them to open earlier this week, but only for delivering food packets.