Kerala government move to provide cooked food to disabled people during lockdown wins hearts
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday announced that elderly and disabled people in the state will be provided with home-cooked food during lockdown period. This will be under the state government’s community kitchen program. The initiative has received a lot of applause from the disabled community. The Kerala government has become torch-bearers to other Indian states, yet again.
The government of Kerala, under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has received a lot of applause for their many programs and schemes for welfare of disabled people. Earlier this week, Vijayan made a few announcements on how Kerala plans to tackle the lockdown amidst Coronavirus scare. In a new ordinance, he announced free ration to all card-holders and cooked food for elderly and disabled people across the state. This welcome move has been cheered by the disabled community and activists. Kerala is yet again showing the right paths for other Indian states to follow.
Slew of announcements
Amidst the Coronavirus scare, Vijayan is all set to ensure that no person in the state goes hungry. As part of this, the state government-initiated ‘Community Kitchen’ was started yesterday in a full-fledged manner. Volunteers would prepare meals which would be handed over to those people in need, especially in rural areas. This included elderly and disabled people as well.
The state government will ensure that no person will go hungry during this lockdown period. Local authorities will take food to those people under quarantine and those who are unable to get food otherwise. Municipal and Panchayat authorities will take care of the community kitchen where food will be cooked and provided to those in need. – Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala
This latest initiative of the state government is a model that other states across India can follow.
Much needed initiative
Members from the disabled community cheer for this latest move.
Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) says the state government’s efforts to reach out to disabled community is much appreciated during the lockdown period.
“Reportedly, directions have already been given to Panchayats. Now, they have to take a list of number of disabled people. Kerala government are truly torch-bearers for other states to follow. Our Chief Minister, during his speech, had specially mentioned that elderly and disabled people must be given special treatment during this time. He had also given clear instructions regarding distribution of food and medicines too. When it comes to disability pension, Kerala government is speeding up the process”, says Rajeev.
Prajith Jaipal, a disability rights activist from Kozhikode in Kerala says, “The Social welfare and justice department of our state has a huge role to play during this lockdown period in order to reach out to people in need. In Kozhikode alone, there are 33,614 people with disabilities according to census. There will be two to three disabled people in every ward. So officials must identify and reach out to them. With right planning, this is not hard to implement. Moreover, disabled people must know whom to contact in case they need help during this time. If the Chief Minister’s promise becomes a reality, it will be great”.
Demand for food kits
Sarath PS, a wheelchair user feels that instead of cooked food, the government must take an initiative to provide monthly food kits to disabled people. “This latest state government initiative is great. But I feel giving monthly food kits would have been better. Many disabled people have facilities to cook at home. It would be cheaper for the government too”. He says.
Biju Paul, a wheelchair user from Thrissur feels the same. “There are many disabled people who are living alone. This latest initiative will indeed benefit them. But for those who already have members at home, a food kit would have been apt. If they get a kit, they can cook food inside their homes during anytime. That way, they don’t have to interact with others. That means, chances of getting infected are also lesser”, says Biju.
Jisha MR, a wheelchair user says, “When I saw the Chief Minister’s speech on TV, I felt proud to be living in Kerala. There are hundreds of disabled and elderly people who cannot go outdoors and get food. So this great initiative will benefit them”.
“I feel food kits would have been a better option. Most of the people live with their family members. So they don’t really need cooked food”, says Preetha Thonnakkal, a wheelchair user from Trivandrum.
In spite of the mixed responses, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state officials have received a thumbs up for handling lockdown in Kerala in the most sensible and practical manner.
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