Khammam: Moved at the plight of the poor and labourers affected by lockdown a trade union leader here has been offering them free meals for the past 70 days.
The leader, Manda Venkateshwarlu has been striving hard to keep up the task of feeding the poor and workers in the unorganised sector in and around Khammam city with the modest means at his disposal.
He is senior leader in the CPI and state general secretary of AITUC affiliated Telangana State Staff and Outsourcing Workers Union. He worked in the CPI (ML) New Democracy before joining the CPI.
Besides providing free meals, he is also distributing face masks free of cost as well as creating awareness on how to contain the spread of coronavirus and to keep themselves safe. Venkateshwarlu has been doing all these spending money from his pocket and with active contributions from his family members.
“Workers in the unorganised sector and the poor were the most affected during the lockdown imposed following the spread of coronavirus. I decided to do something. Hence I started to provide free meals once a day for labourers, autorickshaw drivers, sanitation workers and the poor,” he said.
“Before embarking on the task, I and my wife Sushila calculated the expenditure we would incur which worked out to around Rs 2,700 per day. We serve jeera rice, lemon rice, vegetable biryani along with a banana to at least 100 to 150 persons a day,” Venkateshwarlu told Telangana Today.
“I am spending my monthly allowance given by the party to feed the poor and have spent about Rs 4 lakh for the purpose”, he said, adding that the support of his family members was immense and it allowed him to continue with the humanitarian work.
His wife Sushila, a ladies tailor and son Varma, a part-time employee, his son-in-law Thotapalli Venkat Rao, an aeronautical engineer in Hyderabad, is also contributing for the purpose while another daughter Keerthy helps her mother in preparing the food.
As many as 10,000 faces masks, all stitched by Sushila, have been distributed in and around Khammam. “Wherever I organise mass feeding programme, I make it a point to explain to the gathering about the importance of wearing face masks,” Venkateshwarlu said.
Venkateshwarlu actively took part in separate Statehood movement and went to jail many times. His humanitarian work has been been appreciated by many. The AITUC state committee, former MLA Puvvada Nageswar Rao, the CPI state secretariat member B Hemantha Rao, the party district secretary Potu Prasad and several officials in Khammam have showered praise on him.
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