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Covid-19 lockdown: Kerala Police feeds thousands of hungry across the state

Charitable organisations, tour operators, student bodies and ordinary people have stepped forward to fund the Kerala Police’s novel initiative to feed hungry people during Covid-19 lockdown.

Updated: Apr 09, 2020 14:26 IST

By Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala police’s open kitchen is gaining in popularity. Many volunteers, non-government organisations and student police cadets have stepped forward to feed the needy. (Vivek Nair / HT Photo)

Kerala Police are performing a dual role, feeding thousands of hungry people and simultaneously enforcing the 21-day lockdown in the state, which has won the police force a reputation for efficient handling of the coronavirus pandemic after reporting the first case of infection in India at the end of January.

The force started by distributing a few hundred food packages daily, but the number of people being fed has increased gradually to reach 50,000 people across 15 centres.

The police’s open kitchen, called oru vayar ootaam -- which loosely translates as feeding a stomach – is gaining in popularity. Many volunteers, non-government organisations and student police cadets have stepped forward to feed the needy.

“We don’t want people to go hungry. We started in a small way but expanded after we realised the need to feed many. We concentrate mainly around hospitals where people usually go hungry. We’re serving senior citizens and the destitute as well,” said P Vijayan, inspector general of police (IGP), Kochi Range, and the brain behind the open kitchen initiative.



Vijayan was also the guiding force behind the Student Police Cadets programme in Kerala, which has found national traction.

“Kerala has taken the lead in many ways as far as tackling Covid-19 is concerned. The state was the first to report the disease. We alerted the health workers and politicians about Covid-19. There was a timely intervention from the police as well. Now, the results are there for all to see. We can’t forget our duties and responsibilities towards the poor and distressed people. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the state police chief have given us admirable support in our endeavours,” the IGP said.

Charitable organisations, tour operators, student bodies and ordinary people have stepped forward to fund the police’s novel initiative.

Kerala was the first Indian state to report a coronavirus case in when a student from Wuhan university in China tested positive on January 20.

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