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Akshaya Patra feeds 6.3-crore meals amid Covid-hit lockdown

In the National Capital Region (NCR) Iskon”s Delhi centre has served 2.5-crore meals during the lockdown and still counting.



Akshaya Patra

Bengaluru, June 13 : With the profound message of Iskcon Founder Acharya Shrila Prabhupada that “no one should go hungry” as its motto, the country”s leading non-government organisation Akshaya Patra Foundation has served a whopping 6.3-crore meals to the needy since the lockdown was enforced across the country on March 25 to contain the corona virus spread.

“Till June 11, we have served 6.3 crore (63 million) meals to the people from vulnerable communities, including daily-wage earners, industrial workers, labourers at construction sites and others in 17 states across the country,” Foundation Vice-Chairman Chanchalapathi Dasa told IANS here.

The 6.3-crore meals include 3.4 crore freshly cooked dishes and 6,86,092 food relief kits, with essential groceries amounting to 2.8 crore servings.

Set up in this tech hub with former Infosys Director T.V. Mohandas Pai as its co-founder in 2000, the Foundation is the world”s largest non-for-profit run organisation that serves mid-day meal on school days to over 18-lakh children in 19,039 schools across 12 states in the sub-continent.

Madhu Pandit Dasa of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskon) is the founder of the two decades old Patra.

“Our aim is to reduce the food insecurity during this pandemic outbreak as it heightens health risks for vulnerable under inadequacy of basic nutrients,” said Foundation”s chief executive Shridar Venkat.

Global software major Infosys” co-founder N.R. Narayan Murthy, his wife Sudha Murthy and their family donated Rs 10 crore to enable the Foundation distribute 1.33-lakh food relief kits in various locations across the country.

“I hope the situation will improve soon and the people will get back to normal life. Till then, we will continue to feed as many people as possible,” said Dasa.

The Foundation is serving meals cooked at its huge kitchens to the affected people In Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi (NCR), Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh.

“We have undertaken food assistance to support the government”s relief efforts to the needy, affected by the extended lockdown to curb the Covid-19 spread,” asserted Venkat.

Food relief kits are also being distributed to the vulnerable communities in these states.

“The kits are based on the local palate of the region, with each of them having dry ration sufficient to cook 28 meals. The kits distributed in Bengaluru contain rice, tur dal (lentils), oil, spices, sambar and rasam powder and vegetables with longer shelf-life like potatoes and pumpkins,” said Venkat.

The Foundation is distributing food relief kits also in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where it is building kitchens for the school feeding programme.

In Jharkhand, Punjab and West Bengal, the NGO is using its kitchens set up for cooking mid-day meals for school kids and local resources to feed the needy.

The Foundation has 52 kitchens in 12 states and 2 Union Territories across the country.

Leading corporate, donors and volunteers have also been supporting the Foundation in the relief-feeding endeavour.

The Foundation has also received support of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms like General Mills (Mumbai), Britannia and Epigamia.

Employees from corporate houses, Infosys Foundation, biotech firm Biocon, Home Guards and Civil Defence personnel and volunteer groups like Corona Warriors and Inspiring Indians have been helping with the packing and distribution of food relief kits in various locations.

“We have been able to serve over 6.3 crore meals to the needy during these difficult times due to the collaborative efforts of everyone involved, including the central and state governments and local civic bodies,” Dasa pointed out.

In the National Capital Region (NCR) Iskon”s Delhi centre has served 2.5-crore meals during the lockdown and still counting.

“Though wearing mask and social distancing are necessary to help limit the virus spread, for lakhs of people food insecurity is much more serious issue, as they cannot afford to stock up food supplies,” said Iskcon Delhi”s in-charge Shrila Gopal Krishna Goswami.

Sensing that the economically weaker sections will grapple with food shortage of food in the wake of this nationwide lockdown, Goswami directed the centre”s volunteers to serve warm meals of Krishna prasadam to the needy.

“Our kitchens are run with all precautions as per the Union health ministry”s guidelines. The food is prepared daily in the hygienic way in compliance with the Covid-induced regulations,” said Goswami.


India walks out of UN General Assembly as Imran begins attack




Imran Khan at UNGA

United Nations, Sep 25 : The Indian delegate at the UN General Assembly Session on Friday walked out when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan began his diatribe in his speech.

First Secretary Mijito Vinito, who was at the second seat on the first row of the Assembly chamber, got up and left as Khan began his attack on India by focusing on the RSS before bringing up Kashmir.

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CPM cadres protest farm bills across Andhra Pradesh




CPIM Worker Protest Farm

Amaravati, Sep 25 : Thousand of Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM) workers in Andhra Pradesh are protesting the new farm bills which the Parliament cleared recently, accusing them of being anti-farmer and in favour of business corporations.

“The farm bills will cause great injustice to farmers. Though many political parties opposed their passage, the government still passed them forcibly,” senior AP Communist Party leader Gorla Ramakrishna told IANS.

He said that earlier when people used to hoard agriculture products to manipulate market prices, the government used to raid such hoarders to bring order and protect the farmers.

However, he said these farm bills will create massive asymmetry, pitting ordinary farmers against corporate giants armed with the wherewithal, cold storage, transportation facilities and others to literally rule the market.

The Left leader said that a farmer always strives to sell his produce and repay the debts he has incurred while cultivating the crops.

“A farmer does not have infrastructure to even store his produce for even 10 days. He will be in a hurry to repay his debts. With these new bills, all the powers will now go into the hands of middlemen and corporates,” said Ramakrishna.

He said the corporates can easily move massive amounts of farm produce from state to state to cash in on market uncertainties.

“A real farmer will not benefit with these bills. Not only a farmer, even a buyer will suffer as the middlemen and corporates will create artificial shortage of farm produce to make a killing,” the CPM leader observed.

Importantly, Ramakrishna alleged that middlemen and other market forces who used to stealthily hoard farm produce until now which do it legitimately with these bills allowing them.

“Before the introduction of these bills, hoarders used to illegally store farm produce with fear which will now get legitimised. Now all the people with financial muscle will do it deliberately. Ordinary farmers and buyers will be the losers,” he lamented.

The senior leader said CPM started resisting these bills right from the time they were proposed.

Farm bills aside, Ramakrishna has also expressed his displeasure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies which according to him are benefiting the rich corporates and cronies.

“Especially during the Coronavirus time, we have seen how a person rose up in the billionaire rankings. What does it show? See how the fuel prices have increased. It is our anguish that this government is not caring for the farmers and the common man,” he said.

He disapproved of the farm bills, saying that corporate companies, foreign entities and others will take advantage of the privileges they accord them.

He said the country will have to contend with corporate farming in the future when small farmers will be forced to give up their profession for large corporates to emerge and carry out corporate farming.

“Nowadays labourers are increasing. There is no truth in the claims made by some people that labourers are not available. What will happen to the farmer who gives up agriculture? He is becoming a labourer,” he said.

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Javed Akhtar takes a dig at news channels for ignoring farmers’ protests: ‘If Karan Johar had invited some farmers to his party…’

Javed Akhtar took a dig at news channels and sarcastically remarked that if Karan Johar had invited farmers to his party, they would not have to choose between covering Bollywood and the farmers’ protests.




Javed Akhtar took a dig at news channels prioritising Bollywood’s alleged drug links over the farmers’ protests in their coverage. The lyricist sarcastically remarked that if Karan Johar had invited farmers to his party, ‘life would have been easier’ for the channels, as they would not have to choose between Bollywood and the farmers’ protests.

“If Karan johar had invited some farmers too for his party life would have been easier for our TV channels.They would not have had to choose between farmers protest and Karan’s party!. it seems that Karan’s do is the second most favourite PARTY of our channels,” he wrote.

On Friday, more than 200 farmers’ groups across the country blocked roads and organised rallies in protest against three controversial farm bills passed in the monsoon session of the Parliament. The farmers worry that the new laws could potentially dismantle the current Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and leave them vulnerable to exploitation by agribusinesses.

Meanwhile, a video taken at one of Karan’s house parties last year has been under fresh scrutiny amid an investigation into Bollywood’s alleged drug links. Politician Manjinder Singh Sirsa renewed his claims that it was a ‘drug party’ and filed a complaint with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) earlier this month.

The video featured a number of prominent Bollywood personalities, including Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Vicky Kaushal, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Shahid Kapoor, and filmmakers Zoya Akhtar and Ayan Mukerji. However, none of them were seen consuming drugs in the clip.

The NCB found evidence of a potential drug racket in Bollywood, while investigating the drugs angle in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. His girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty, was arrested earlier this month on charges of procuring drugs. She has been remanded to judicial custody till October 6.

Names of several Bollywood celebrities have come up in the investigation. The NCB has issued summons to Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet Singh and Shraddha Kapoor. Reports suggest that 39 more Bollywood celebrities are under the scanner.

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