Guwahati, Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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Amid lockdown, Bengaluru residents on toes to support Assam migrants

 GUWAHATI, June 1 - Bengaluru, known as the IT capital of India, is home to more than 4 million migrants, of which approximately 5 lakh are from Northeast region, and most of them are from Assam.

With industries and construction activities coming to a standstill and small enterprises like restaurants and saloons shuttered, many did not receive their salaries. Unfortunately, rents, electricity charges and food bills still had to be paid and many reached a stage of desperation.

However, at Bengaluru, the Karnataka government set up a special cell for Northeast persons. Government officials and police have teamed up with local NGOs and citizen groups to reach out to the migrants.

Organisations like Bangalore Mising Society of Assam (BMSA), Assam Society of Bangalore (ASOB), TMPKB, Bangalore Bodo Welfare Association (BBWA), Bengaluru Karbi Society (BKS), Bengaluru Garo Society (BGS) and Bangalore Tiwa Community (BTC) have formed action groups that help get the rations to the most affected in a timely manner, a press release stated.

While volunteers are aplenty, resources are not. Each dry ration kit that would serve a family of four for a fortnight and that include rice, dal, oil, sugar, salt and assorted masalas would cost a minimum of Rs 1,000 and there were thousands of needy folks.

At this critical phase, Sunbird Trust, a Bangalore-registered NGO working primarily in Northeast India came to the rescue.

Deepak Payeng, president of the Bangalore Mising Society of Assam said that he was amazed that Sunbird Trust actually reached out to the Society enquiring about any help. With that generous offer, BMSA conducted surveys to locate the neediest and calculate the assistance required.

Accordingly, ration kits were made available for distribution by volunteers. BMSA vice-president Ghano Jimey said that the distribution of ration kits was not an easy process – community members live across the city and most of the volunteers have only motorbikes and scooters, so delivery of hundreds of ration kits was difficult.

Sunbird Trust has already distributed dry rations to more than 12,000 persons. Ghano said that BMSA and TMPKB received over 13 tons of ration kits which were distributed to over 2,000 persons of Assamese origin staying across the city.

Sunbird Trust founder and CEO, retired Army Colonel Christopher Rego says that the Trust, a non-religious and non-denominational organisation, works with a motto of ‘Peace through Education’. It seeks to get underprivileged children in remote parts of Northeast India into the education system.

The Trust currently sponsors over 3,300 children, out of which over 800 hail from different parts of Assam, mainly Majuli.

Bipin Dhane, founder of Ayang Trust at Majuli said that Sunbird Trust is financially supporting many schools on the island with child sponsorships and helping build educational infrastructure.

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