Express News Service
CUTTACK: For industrialist Avinash Khemka (47), the art of living is all about the art of giving. The man, who had come to the rescue of thousands of workers stranded on highways last year during lockdown, is on a mission to feed Covid patients in home isolation this year.
“It is not about money but empathy – the ability to feel the suffering of others that empowers me to move ahead,” said Khemka, who through his organisation, Amulya Jeevan Foundation Trust,has embarked on the noble mission. Being a highly infectious disease, Covid-19 is different from others as it can render families helpless. One such family of three residing near Town Hall, after testing positive, was left on its own with not even close relatives coming to their aid.
The family comprising a 40-year-old man, his wife (36) and mother-in-law (65) came across a pamphlet of Khemka’s Amulya Jeevan Foundation Trust on WhatsApp. “We dialled the number given on the pamphlet and requested for three meals. At 1 pm, the bell rang and I found a man standing with the packets and three water bottles. He put the food and bottles on the floor and left,” said the man’s wife.
A messiah for families in home isolation who cannot cook their own food, Khemka had provided food and drinking water to more than 70,000 migrant workers on NH-16 near Bandalo in Tangi during the first wave. He had also extended a helping hand to over 200 distressed migrant workers stranded due to the lockdown and carried them home in his own vehicles between May 13 and June 21 last year.
With the pandemic raising its ugly head again, Khemka found that 92 per cent of Covid patients in the city are in home isolation. “Most of them are unable to arrange cooked food for themselves. Hence, I decided to supply packed meals to them,” he said. A resident of Cuttack, Khemka is the owner of a biscuit company. Apart from himself and his family members, a team comprising his firm’s employees cook the food. The industrialist started his new venture on Wednesday. While 16 meals were supplied to five houses for lunch, as many as 23 dinners were given to nine houses at different locations in the city on day one.
This apart, Khemka distributes cooked packed meals among around 200 persons in distress including beggars, porters and daily wage labourers at Cuttack Railway Station with the help of Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel. The cooked meal packets contain rice, four rotis (flat breads), mixed vegetable curry, fried vegetables, two bananas, a sweet and a biscuit packet along with a water bottle. “While the lunch time is 12 pm to 1.30 pm, the dinner time is between 7.30 pm and 8.30pm,” said Khemka while requesting the distressed Covid patients’ families to inform him about the requirement of meals four hours in advance by calling 8280-900-000.