'United Kathua' providing yeoman service to needy amid lockdown

Jammu, Apr 26 (PTI) From providing meals to over 16,500 stranded persons twice a day and reaching out at the doorsteps of others, police and civilian volunteers are jointly providing yeoman's service to the needy amid the ongoing lockdown in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The volunteers, working under the banner of 'United Kathua Jammu and Kashmir Police, helped the district administration to cope up with the challenge posed by the coronavirus-led lockdown.

Located at the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir, Kathua, which shares its border with Punjab, witnessed thousands of people including migrant labourers getting stranded with the commencement of the nation-wide lockdown on March 24.

'The administration left no stone unturned to provide the help to needy people, especially stranded migrant labourers but it was almost not possible without the help of local residents,' a police official said.

He said some volunteers from Kathua approached Senior Superintendent of Police Shailendra Kumar Mishra and expressed their desire to help the needy amid the lockdown, thus laying the foundation for 'United Kathua Jammu and Kashmir Police' on March 27.

'A  War Room was established in the building of District Police Office, Kathua, with dedicated infrastructure including all amenities along with technical gadgets for its uninterrupted round the clock functioning under the direct supervision of the SSP,' the official said.

At the initial stage, the United Kathua started community kitchens at different locations in the district to provide the meals twice a day to the needy people.

'At present 16 such community kitchens are functioning at various locations in the district, providing meals to more than 16,635 needy persons twice a day. So far, about 100 tons of rice, 150 tin of cooking oil and 400 kg of soybean have been used,' the official said.

Apart from this, he said, about five tons of rice and 451 litres of cooking oil has also been distributed to the needy persons through home delivery.

'In addition to this, the United Kathua fed stray animals on daily basis with 12,000 biscuit packets and green grass worth Rs 60,000 till date,' the official said.

He said the United Kathua received 4,400 calls on its helpline numbers for home delivery of essential services like ration, milk, medicine, books and medical help.

Acting upon these calls, the United Kathua reached out to 4,191 callers and addressed their issues, he said, adding the rest 209 calls are under process.  He said the United Kathua provided medicines to the needy people at their doorstep.  'It purchased medicine amounting to Rs 4,87,735  from different states including Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and handed it over to the patients. Medicine to the tune of Rs 23,252 was also distributed free of cost among the poor and needy people,' the official said.

On the very first day of the effort, the official said locals of Kathua came forward and donated Rs 8,76,861 till date to help feeding and medicating stranded people.

'Out of the donation received, Rs 7,13,429 was utilized so far,' he said. PTI TAS AQS AQS