Odisha SHG members provide 1.5 crore meals to needy during lockdown

Bhubaneswar: The members of women Self Help Groups (SHG) in Odisha have provided more than 1.5 crore meals to the needy and helpless people during the lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials said.

As part of efforts to provide food security to the helpless people, members of Mission Shakti SHGs have provided 2.05 lakh meals to Aahar Kendras, subsidized food centres in municipal areas, they said.

Similarly, the SHGs have provided meals to 44,832 patients in different hospitals during the ongoing nationwide lockdown, a senior official said.

So far, a total of 7,127 SHGs have provided over 1.56 crore meals, involving themselves in the preparation of cooked food both in rural and urban areas of the state, said Sujata R. Karthikeyan, Commissioner-cum-Director, Mission Shakti.

Recognising their role, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also highly appreciated the selfless service, enthusiasm and sincerity of Mission Shakti SHGs for their active participation in food security and social security programmes during extraordinary situation due to COVID-19 lockdown, she said.

Keeping in view their contribution in providing food security to destitute and helpless people in such difficult situation, the chief minister has also announced an incentive of Rs 2 per meal for them.

This apart, as many as 1,242 SHGs have prepared more than 40 lakh masks during the lockdown, while about 8,000 members are providing dry ration and vegetables through 595 ration shops and 154 mobile vans. So far, 15,274 quintals of vegetable and dry ration have been sold by them, Karthikeyan said.

In addition to their active role during the lockdown with devotion and sincerity, around 70 lakh members of Mission Shakti SHGs are also involved in economic activities such as fish farming, mushroom farming, dairy farming, supply of take home ration (THR) to Anganwadi Centers, management of farm ponds and fair price shops under public distribution system, she said.

During lockdown period, mothers of Mission Shakti have been provided with credit assistance to the tune of Rs 145 crore in zero interest through linkage with different banks from the month of April till date.

Now, with thousands of migrant Odias who were stranded in different parts of the country returning to Odisha, the women SHGs need to play another important role. They will have to ensure that the returnees strictly adhere to the quarantine guidelines and their family members maintain social distancing, she said.

The Mission Shakti Director said the SHGs members should lead the fight against COVID-19 in their respective villages by keeping their family members away from the quarantine centre and by not allowing the returnees to visit their home without spending the mandatory quarantine period in the temporary medical centres.

On Saturday, 3,18,630 destitute and helpless persons were provided with food in 4,994 gram panchayats. Similarly, in areas under 114 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), 35,154 people have been served with food on the day, official sources said.

So far over 53,000 people have returned to to the state and the returnees are being directly sent to the quarantine centres set up in their respective panchayat areas, official sources said, adding as many as 14,308 temporary medical centres have been readied in 6798 gram panchayats of the state.


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