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More than 20 crore people in India are hungry: ex-DGP Sivanandan

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Nagpur: The project called’ Roti Bank’ was launched in Nagpur after Mumbai, aimed at feeding the poor and hungry. The Roti Bank was opened at Rashtrasant Tukdoji Regional Cancer Hospital in the presence of the Director of the Foundation and Maharashtra’s former Director General of Police D Sivanandan, Police Commissioner Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, and IG KM Prasanna on Tuesday 7 January. Feed packets were served to poor patients on the occasion.

Other prominent figures on the occasion include Dr Subrojit Dasgupta, Dr B K Sharma, Chandrakant Deshmukh and other physicians and the Roti Bank team. The Roti Bank collects leftovers from restaurants, clubs and parties, stores them in vans and distributes them to the poor before food stalls.

In a world where millions of people are hungry every day, a former IPS officer has come up with an initiative to feed the poor. Launched in December last year by former top cop D Sivanandan, in collaboration with the famous Mumbai tiffin carrier ‘ Dabbawalas,’ Roti Bank claims to have received a good response. To bring a sense of benevolence to the rich class, Sivanandan encourages children from affluent families to “come and witness the joy of sharing (food),” he said, adding that alleviating the hunger of street children would help them to refrain from committing crimes.

Speaking at the time, Sivanandan said, “I never thought that such a good initiative would have a good start. The Roti Bank was founded in December 2017 from a pandal near the Lower Parel Railway Station in Mumbai. At that time, only 10 people were involved in the initiative. “There wasn’t any money. A friend of mine had provided a vehicle. Roti Bank now has 10 vehicles in Mumbai and the 11th in Nagpur. I was Police Commissioner 4r in Nagpur in 2004. Since Nagpur is the centre of tasty food, the city has been chosen for the initiative. India is a three-trillion dollar economy. The population of the country will surpass the population of China in the next year. Although India is a powerful country, about 20 crore people are hungry. We have enough food, but because of mismanagement, huge food goes to waste. Nearly 1.8 lakh tons of food is wasted every day in India, and around 20 crore people, many of whom are in Mumbai, are going hungry, “he lamented.

Sivanandan also said that the Roti Bank has served 10 Lakh people to date. “We distribute food to schools where poor students study. Over 500 patients at the Tata Cancer Hospital are served with food. The NGO has started cooking since 1 January. Salaries of staff and drivers shall be paid through this NGO. Prasanna Chaudhari will work with a ream of 20 volunteers in Nagpur, “said the former top cop.

As part of the program, two GPRS-equipped vans are making rounds of streets near hospitals and slums to provide food for the poor, he said. The NGO mainly collects leftover food staples such as rotis (chapati or wheat-made flatbread), rice, vegetables and dal to be distributed within 60 to 90 minutes.

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