KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 3
Hundreds of poor people were served meals today at Khula Manch despite the order from Kathmandu Metropolitan City to stop distributing free food in the open grounds.
The local government had issued an order asking police to stop distribution of food in the open space. But social workers have been distributing free food to people rendered helpless by COVID-19 crisis.
A Few days ago, city police under the local government had reached the venue asking people not to distribute food citing the order from ‘higher authority.’ The police, citing, the ‘authorities” had told social workers that distributing free food in public tarnished the image of KMC. Bimal Panta, coordinator of Hamro Team Nepal, one of the social organisations that has been serving free meals at Khula Manch said it was shameful on part of the local government to obstruct the noble initiative of the social organisations. “We took the initiative of feeding the hungry as the government turned deaf ear to their plight,” he said.
City police, who were on guard at Khula Manch today had to leave the site after hundreds of destitute people gathered there in the hope of getting some food. “We were confident that no police personnel would deprive the hungry people of their meal,” said Panta.
Today alone around 400 people were given free meals.
During the complete lockdown period over 1,200 people were served food at that place, every day. It was the period when distribution of relief materials by the local government drew flak as the needy people were deprived of the benefit.
Another organisation named 100 Group, has also been providing evening meals for the needy at Khula Manch on a daily basis. Huge part of the expense of such charity organisations is covered through donations by members of the concerned organisation. Umesh Bohara, an activist of the organisation said many individuals and organisations have been extending help to their initiative, which has made it possible for them to provide regular meals for the needy people for an extended period.
KMC is still adamant that no people should be allowed to serve free food in that manner.
Ishwor Man Dangol, KMC’s spokesperson said, “All we want is to manage the food distribution process and make it more hygienic and dignified. The place where people have been fed is a bus park, which must be cleared as transportation service has resumed.”
KMC has called for a press meet tomorrow which will decide on the fate of the free food programme.
Feature image: File
A version of this article appears in print on November 04, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.