Ahmedabad: Civic body delivers meals to those home-quarantined, gets requests for Jain food

Parimal A Dabhi
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People stand at a safe distance form each other outside a bank in CTM area, Ahmedabad, on Thursday. (Express photo: Javed Raja)

As part of the fight against Covid-19, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is providing cooked food parcels to people quarantined at their homes twice a day, so they don't step out to get essentials.

Some of those quarantined have specific demands like Jain food, which the civic body is trying to meet.
The health department of AMC gets around 3,500 food parcels prepared twice a day and distributes it to quarantined people.

The kit initially given to the quarantined people included packets of milk powder, kabuli chana, packets of noodles, biscuits, khakhra etc.

A senior health department officer overseeing the process said on condition of anonymity that the delivery of cooked food started from March 18. The department has identified caterers or popular food chains in different zones of the city to prepare the food parcels.

“Our health department staff is in touch with the quarantined people in every ward. Every evening, we get a list of people who request the food parcels, and accordingly ask our caterers or food chains to prepare lunch and dinner. The distribution is done through our tax department,” said the officer.

Another health department official involved in delivery of food parcels said, “In some areas of the city, like Paldi, the population of Jain community is relatively high. They demanded Jain food. We discussed the issue with our superiors, and decided to provide it, as Jain food is not very difficult to prepare along with regular food. On average, we are delivering 25 Jain food parcels.”

Jain food excludes the use of any bulb, such as onion, potato, ginger, garlic, beetroot, and radish.

“People do have certain food preferences. We are trying to be as accommodative as possible. We provide Jain food as it is not difficult. But we cannot provide non-vegetarian food on demand,” said the senior health officer.

Out of the 4,000 home-quarantined people, around 3,500 homes have been receiving the food parcels twice a day.
Municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra said that corporation came up with this idea so there was zero chance of transmission.

“Initially, we provided them a kit of grocery and other items that could last for the entire quarantine period of 14 days. Then we started providing cooked meals. This move is being received well. While 800 meals a day is a huge number, there have hardly been any complaints, barring one or two cases of late delivery," said Nehra.

He added that apart from the bare minimum requirements like two meals a day and basic grocery, if people want more things, they can avail it through the attendant provided by the corporation on a chargeable basis.

The AMC has been providing food parcels to homeless people on roads too, through donations they get from restaurant chains, temple trusts, individuals etc.. “Yesterday, we distributed 6,300 such food packets to homeless people,” said the health department officer.

Vadodara

In Vadodara, following multiple complaints from residents about their home-quarantined neighbours stepping out to fetch essentials, the administration has now decided to ask health workers to pitch in and make required items available to those in quarantine.

VMC Commissioner Nalin Upadhyay told The Indian Express that he has instructed the health officials who are supposed to conduct daily checks on the quarantined to help fetch essential items for such families.

"Following an incident where a locality raised an alarm after a quarantined person stepped out to fetch groceries, I have told health officers to ensure we help such families on humanitarian basis. We will first see if the items they need are available in their neighbourhoods. If not, we will bring it for them from other places. We are also thinking of providing free provision and grocery to the home-quarantined persons, like the Ahmedabad and Surat Municipal Corporations."

Currently, 1,002 persons are in home-quarantine in Vadodara.

(input by Aditi Raja from Vadodara)