The village of Kottigekaval is located in Hunsur Taluk, Mysore. This village falls under Govindanahalli Panchayat and comprises 95 families, who have been relocated from Nagarahole by the Government of India 70 years ago.
The villagers live in basic conditions, with no hospital or post office in the vicinity, no proper sanitation, and toilets. Most of them are addicted to tobacco or paan (betelnut leaves) and alcohol, spending a large part of their earnings on cheap, local liquor. The total population of the village is approximately 650 inhabitants consisting of 70 Jenu Kuruba tribal families, 12 Muslim families and 13 Achari families. A large percentage of the adult population are employed in nearby Coorg as agricultural workers in coffee plantations, carpenters, and other daily wage jobs. Now, due to the pandemic, they have returned to their village. Fortunately, there have not been any COVID-19 cases so far.
Since the earning capacity of the villagers has been severely affected, and on request from the local Panchayath we decided to supply food kits to all the families of Kottigekaval. Taking into consideration the diet of the people, each food kit contains14 items comprising of 20 kgs rice, 2 kgs dal, 1 kg sugar, 3 kgs onions, 1 kg potatoes, ½ kg jaggery kg, 1kg salt, 200 gms turmeric powder, 250gmssambar powder, 2 pieces of bar soap for washing clothes, 1 litre sunflower oil, 200 gms tea powder, 100 gms garlic, 4 bars of dishwashing soap.
We also had many generous donations from local well-wishers. Babu, a local farmer donated fresh vegetables along with Govindaraj and Kamala, i.e brinjals, radish, and chillis. Local merchants Ganesh and Shivraj donated bananas and Vignesh donated cookies. This made up a separate bag of 4 kgs for each of the needy families.
Chinnamma from the nearby CBT Colony donated MeliaDubia plants for each family, which are in high demand for plywood industries. The wood of this plant has medicinal value and is also used for fodder. It plays a vital role in the multi-farming of sheep, goat and dairy farming. Melia Dubia has been tested positive for pulpwood and recorded a pulp yield of 50.3%.
A day prior to the distribution, we ordered items from a shop in CBT colony. On the morning of 24th June, we transported the bags 20 kms by truck along with the donated plants. Youth from 3 villages helped to pack and load the items. We are very grateful to Basappa, Shivaraju, Venkatesh, Ganesh, Chirag, Aayush, Raju, Rajanna, Appu, Dore, Murugesh, Ambarish, Vinod, Manu, Vignesh, Khader and Mahesh for their support.
At 7 am on 24th June, we loaded the truck and set off for the School, which we reached by 8 am. After unloading and storing the material in the school’s corridor, we marked social distancing circles on the school grounds.
The distribution began with the plantation of 2 plants by the Taluk Tahshildar Shri. Basavaraju and Panchayat Development Officer Shri. Girish VR.
The gate in front of the school was kept locked and served as a barrier, to make it easier for distribution. 18 people were allowed to enter through the gate, in 5 batches, while maintaining social distancing.
The distribution began at 11 am and ended at 4 pm. We kept a gap of 20 minutes gap between each of the groups, to maintain order. At the registration desk, Manjunath B checked their Aadhar cards and tokens distributed 3 weeks earlier, against the list of beneficiaries.
The ration kits were laid out on 1 table, with 1 volunteer to distribute and another to help the beneficiaries to carry the kits, 1 volunteer distributed the plants and another distributed the veggies, also laid out on separate tables.
Bill Collector Shri. Lokesh, Panchayat members Shri. Mahesh and Shri. Thammiah, Headmistress Smt. Geetha, ASHA worker Shri. Khader, Education Officer Shri. Girish, Panchayati President Smt. Salma Banu were present for the distribution.
Each food kit that we distributed will last a family of 5 for 2 months. All the officials and people present appreciated such a generous supplement for so many families.
The PDO, Tahsildar, and Municipality persons said they would lend their support to FSL India for any future activities. They offered to obtain government approval and print handbills/posters for any future awareness sessions that we might have. They also requested for a further 35 ration kits for ASHA, Panchayat and Municipality workers which we have agreed to consider.