The State of West Bengal suffered two major calamities together: COVID-19 and its associated lockdown,and the Amphan cyclone. This caused unimaginable suffering to the people of the State. Ever since the super-cyclone Amphan made a landing in West Bengal on 20th May, 2020, it devastated vast areas in the two 24 Parganas, and the coastal regions of Purba Medinipur. Thousands of houses were wrecked, large trees were uprooted, roads, embankments and bridges were broken, and crops and harvests were destroyed.
After the lock down, Prantojon, led by NUJS Professor Mr. Soumya Sahin, was running six community kitchens in South 24 Parganas. After the cyclone, Prantojon doubled its capacity and has been providing food to over three thousand people everyday. They have also arranged for medical camps in the affected areas. Their activists are working day and night to rebuild two villages - Notunpara in Gopalpur 1, and Shitulia in Sandeshkhali block. They are also working towards rehabilitation of more than ten thousand migrant workers from Bengal, who were stuck in various parts of the country.
At the same time, Mr. Arnab Roy, NUJS'10, and Director, IDIA Charitable Trust formed SB community kitchen in his personal capacity and started providing cooked food to hundreds of homeless people at Baruipur railway station, Kolkata. The initiative was financially backed by his NUJS batch mates and others. SB community kitchen also distributed groceries and other essentials among migrant workers from Jharkhand, Bihar, and to underprivileged families of Sonarpur, Bishnupur, Baruipur, and Beleghata. The recent cyclone, Amphan has worsened the situation even further and the Sundarbans area of West Bengal has been affected the most. IDIA has been working in the Sunderbans since 2010 and the organisation has extended its support to underprivileged families there. So far, the organisation has reached seven villages and helped more than 800 families by distributing food and other essentials in Sundarbans and few families in Belegahta slums.
Mr. Ankit Pal, NUJS'22, along with Mr. Sayan Bhattacharya from NALSAR, Hyderabad, started the Stronger Kolkata Initiative to lend a hand to the people affected by the Super cyclone Amphan and the Covid 19 pandemic in Bengal. This students` collective started out to help 13 families living in a small slum in Beleghata. To this date, they have reached out to 260 families in Kolkata with essential ration, clothing, and sanitary napkins.
In Bhangor 2, the initiative has reached out to 120 families in Kashipur, Guchuria, and Bhogali with essential ration, clothing, medicines, and sanitary napkins. Volunteers from the Stronger Kolkata Initiative shall be reaching out to another 50 families in Pakhimara with ration. As a part of their Stronger Sunderbans initiative, they have reached out to 360 families in Piyali Island and 900 families in Purba-Shritopinagar (near Raidighi). A total of 560 tarpaulins and 700 packets of ration has been distributed in these two places. The Stronger Kolkata Initiative has reached out to around 1700 families and directly impacted the lives of approximately 6500 people in Kolkata, Bhangor, and the Sunderbans.
Ankit and Sayan also plan to conduct an Awareness Campaign where they will distribute 10,000 masks at 10 different locations across the city of Kolkata to spread awareness about wearing masks amongst the people. They thank all the people and organizations who have funded their initiatives so far, and request your support to continue their efforts.
We take great pride in the fact that our Professors, Alumni, and Students continue to serve society, even amidst crisis.