Hunger Meets Hope Under This Bengaluru Metro Station Bridge Amid Lockdown

The government of Karnataka has made provisions for migrant labourers to help them tide over the lockdown. It has ordered dry food rations to be delivered at the slums where some of these people live.

A group of people gather under the Vivekananda Metro Station bridge in Bengaluru to collect food packets.

Bengaluru:

Bengaluru's Metro stations are big and bold, symbols of the achievements of a city that is perceived to be one of India's most progressive and modern.

Now, with the nationwide lockdown in place to contain the spread of the global pandemic, the stations are silent. No Metro trains are running. So, when a group of people, including women and children, gathered under the Vivekananda Metro Station bridge on the city's Old Madras Road, it came as a surprise.

When they were asked why were they gathered in a group with no social distancing, the answer was simple. Hunger.

Aiyappa, an elderly man who had come to Bengaluru from north Karnataka's Kalburgi district, told NDTV, "Sometimes the people who pass by give us food, so we come and stand here. We have no jobs."

Mariyabandha is from Yadgir. Even he has the same plight, "There is no work and we have no food."

Some of the members of the group wore masks, while others used towels or the pallu of their saris to cover their faces.

"They give us food here, that is why we come here. People pass on the road and stop and give food sometimes," one of them said.

The government of Karnataka has made provisions for migrant labourers to help them tide over the lockdown. It has ordered dry food rations to be delivered at the slums where some of these people live. It isn't always enough, though.

Soon, a group of young men was seen with food packets wrapped in newspapers. The migrant workers formed a queue to receive their packets one by one.

"We are from Jogupalya," said Naveen, one of the men handing out the packets, adding, "We are paying for these ourselves. We have been doing this for the last 30 days since the lockdown started."

His companion, Velu, told NDTV, "We are a group of around 8 to 10 people. We feel happy to help the needy, who aren't getting enough food, by contributing a little amount from our end. We get their blessings in return."

The man, who cooks the food for distribution, said the day's rice dish was Puliyogare (tamarind rice).

The children, who were in the queue to take their packages, said the food was nice.

Banappa, an elderly man, comes under the Metro station bridge daily to receive his newspaper-wrapped lunch. "I live in a nearby slum. We are getting good food here. We come here to collect the packets everyday." he said.

"The food is good. May God bless them. It is so difficult to get food these days. We used to earn our living as labourers. Now, they are feeding us. I pray to god to keep them safe."

The food packets were soon over. But, the young volunteers were in a hurry.

"We also distribute food at a slum. 200 people are waiting there," said Velu as he got on his motorbike, to satiate hunger with hope in the time of coronavirus lockdown.