Published On : Tue, Jan 7th, 2020

Over 20 crore people in India go hungry: Ex-DGP Sivanandan

The initiative called ‘Roti Bank’ started in Nagpur to serve food to needy and hungry

Nagpur: Aimed at feeding needy and hungry, the initiative called ‘Roti Bank’ has been started in Nagpur after Mumbai. The Roti Bank was inaugurated at Rashtrasant Tukdoji Regional Cancer Hospital in the presence of Foundation Director and Maharashtra’s former Director General of Police D Sivanandan, Commissioner of Police Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, and IG K M Prasanna on Tuesday, January 7. On the occasion, food packets were served to poor patients.

Other prominent personalities present on the occasion include Dr Subrojit Dasgupta, Dr B K Sharma, Chandrakant Deshmukh and other doctors and team of Roti Bank. The Roti Bank collects leftovers from restaurants, clubs and parties, stores it in vans and distributes it to the poor before the food gets stale.

In a country where millions of people go hungry every day, a retired IPS officer has come up with an initiative to feed the needy. Launched by former top cop D Sivanandan in December last year in collaboration with the Mumbai’s famous tiffin carriers ‘Dabbawalas’, the Roti Bank claims to be getting a good response. To bring about a sense of benevolence among the rich class, Sivanandan encourages children from affluent families to “come and witness the joy of sharing (food),” he said, adding that mitigating hunger of the street children would help them abstain from committing crime.

Speaking on the occasion, Sivanandan said, “I had never thought that such a good initiative would get such a good start. The Roti Bank was started from a pandal near Lower Parel Railway Station in Mumbai in December 2017. At that time just 10 people had connected with the initiative. “There was no money. A friend had provided a vehicle. Now Roti Bank has 10 vehicles in Mumbai and the 11th has been provided in Nagpur. I was Commissione4r of Police in Nagpur in 2004. Since Nagpur is centre of tasty food, the city was chosen for the initiative. India is a 3-trillion dollar country. Country’s population will surpass China’s population in the next one year. Depite India being a powerful country, around 20 crore people go hungry. We have sufficient food but due to mismanagement, huge food goes waste. Nearly 1.8 lakh tonnes of food is wasted every day in India and around 20 crore people, of whom a big number is in Mumbai, go hungry,” he lamented.

Sivanandan further said that the Roti Bank has fed 10 lakh people so far. “We distribute food in schools where poor students study. Over 500 patients of Tata Cancer Hospital are served food. From January 1, out NGO has started a kitchen. Salaries of the staff and drivers are paid through this NGO. In Nagpur, Prasanna Chaudhari will work with a ream of 20 volunteers,” the former top cop said.

As part of the initiative, two GPRS-equipped vans make rounds of streets near hospitals and slums to provide food to the needy people, he said. The NGO mainly collects leftover food staples like rotis (chapati or wheat-made flat bread), rice, vegetables and dal to be distributed within 60 to 90 minutes.