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Bikram B

Khariar: These are testing times even for the well off, let alone the poor and the vulnerable. But in such adversities, more often than not, there rise a few torchbearers to spread the light of hope and compassion that cuts through the hardships and reaches the helpless.

Rakesh Kumar Podha in Lalsahebpada under Khariar of Nuapara district is such a godsend who has been a ray of hope & help for divyangs & the helpless in this lockdown on account of the Coronavirus outbreak. Rakesh prepares food in his home and then sets out in search of the needy for whom the lockdown has shut all doors of help. Rakesh has been feeding around 20-25 people on a daily basis.

“Due to the lockdown, many people are suffering. Most of them are unable to step out of their homes in view of the lockdown. Me and my wife are cooking food for the needy,” said Rakesh.

“In such crucial times, any assistance in the form of food and other articles is beneficial,” said a needy.

With India entering the 4th day of the lockdown, Odisha, like others has come to a virtual standstill. Streets are empty, shops shut and people are only venturing out to fetch supplies. Major cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore, Sambalpur & Berhampur remain completely shut. Police have ramped up enforcement of the lockdown with strict action against the violators. With social distancing being given utmost priority, administration is relocating busy markets, especially vegetable markets, to open places where people can maintain required distance while making purchases. In Udala of Mayurbhanj district, all the vendors and shopkeepers of Krushak Bazaar have been asked to sell along the roadside. Moreover, the vendors and shopkeepers have been asked to follow regulated timings from 8AM to 11AM in the morning and from 5PM to 7PM in the evening.

Similarly, the Bargarh district administration has imposed similar restrictions. While fruit & vegetable shops have been asked to remain open from 6AM till 10AM, grocery & petrol pumps will remain open from 7AM till 2PM as per the revised guidelines.

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