Kathakali Dutta is a second semester student of the Master of Communication and Journalism (Integrated) programme at the School of Mass Communication, KIIT Deemed University, Bhubaneswar.
A group of cyclists in Chennai is working have formed a community to help people who cannot go out, buy groceries and other essentials.
The community known as the "Relief Riders" initiated this project from last week. They particularly reach out to the elderly and the vulnerable section of the society like the differently-abled people and others who are quarantined or cannot step out due to Covid.
Felix John has been named as the 'bicycle mayor' of Chennai by BYCS, a social enterprise based in Amsterdam which is driven by the belief that "bicycles transform the cities and cities transform the world." Felix, who is also a pioneer of the initiative in Chennai, along with director of Street Matrix, Kawin Kumaran told The New Indian Express that they initiated this practice to help the ones suffering in this pandemic and also simultaneously promote cycling in the city. Felix further added that this service is being provided voluntarily by the community and they don't charge any extra delivery amount.
Currently, the temperatures in Chennai are soaring. In view of that, the delivery services are available only before 11 am and after 4pm. Felix also added that "Relief Riders" were also active in Bengaluru during the first wave of the virus .
Venugopal AV, a relief rider who also works for ITDP India said that he counts his blessings whenever he is out on the bicycle, delivering essentials for helping people. He also said that he ensures that he follows all the possible measures to keep himself safe so that his family and the people he interacts with also remain safe. "Sometimes the cycle rides are short, sometimes it's long and we need to search for the items in different shops... but you realise it's all worth it when you see the smile of gratitude on the face of the receiver," he added. Further, he also said how their network is expanding and till now about 80 people have joined as relief riders.
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