Sromona Bhattacharyya Bhattacharyya
Hailing from Kolkata and now a resident of Bengaluru, Sromona is a multimedia journalist who has a knack for digging stories that truly deserve attention.
There is nothing like a good meal and while many have the privilege of eating piping hot rotis at the end of a very hectic work day, reality and truth tells us that not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy the same. The problem of hunger has been plaguing the world and especially India and while individuals have come up with innovating ideas and programmes to feed the needy, a Kolkata-based NGO is doing their bit by serving hot rotis with ghee and pickle to those in need.
Vikash Aggarwal’s initiative called “Apni Roti” involves a moving van which goes from one place to another in and around West Bengal. It serves close to 7,000 rotis a day and feeds over 2,000 people in need, all for free. Installed inside a van is an automated roti-making machine which has the capacity of churning out close to 1,000 rotis in an hour, which helps the NGO feed a large number of people at a time.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Aggarwal said that the initiative began on January 1, 2019, with the aim of serving fresh, hygienic and nutritional meals to the poor. “There are NGOs which repurpose leftover restaurant food for the needy, but it can never be compared to a fresh and hot meal. Along with rotis, the NGO gives out ghee, pickles and sometimes even sweets.
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He further said that the van, which only requires four people is fully automated and goes from one place to another. He said, “The van only takes a day off from the schedule and on all other days, it starts at 10:30 am and continues till 7:30 in the evening.” Aggarwal and his team of four charts out locations with largescale impoverishment like slum areas where the vehicle makes a visit. “We identify a zone and try to cover as many locations as we can in that zone,” he added.
There is also a WhatsApp group named the “Apni Roti Squad” as well as social media handles where the location of the van is shared with the volunteers so more and more people end up coming to the location. At present, the van is only functional in West Bengal, primarily in and around Kolkata and is privately funded by Aggarwal, however, he has plans to extend this initiative to Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa as well.
Additionally, he also has plans to introduce more and more vans like this so as to help as many people as they can. Talking about the response, he said that the project, albeit new has taken a likeness among volunteers and those who have been its beneficiaries. Aggarwal siad that he is currently looking for donors who would help him in expanding this initiative.
Aggarwal’s initiative is unique and it has surely won the hearts of all who have been in the receiving end of their service. The Logical Indian lauds Vikash Aggarwal and his team for helping those in need by filling their stomachs with fresh and hygienic food.
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