One of the biggest challenges for governments across the globe has been to ensure food security amid the novel Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns to combat its spread. It is those at the bottom end of the pyramid who might have to suffer the most due to the pandemic. Various steps have been taken worldwide for providing food to those who have become redundant due to the lock-down.
In Noida Sector 41, hundreds of people could be seen in a long row. Men, women, children and elderly with utensils or packets in their hands waiting for the Noida Authority officials to arrive. A minivan arrives around 12 in the noon with enough food to cater all those waiting there. In case they need more, the kitchen is a few kilometres from the distribution centre and it could be taken care of. Four officials in a different van with Manoj Sharma, who is heading the food distribution programme in the area, arrive at the location.
''We have divided our work into two categories. Two of us would work on social distancing as you could see it is a big crowd and we do not want to violate the government instructions. Food cannot be distributed at the cost of health hence we enforce it strictly. And the other two people of the team distribute the food item'', said Manoj Sharma.
The official informed that the distribution happens twice a day and the team visit this area around 12 in the noon and then 7 in the evening. Sharma adds, ''But just because we are coming here two times does not mean we do not want people to have enough food. They can have as much as they want. Every single person in the line would be given according to whatever they have in their hands to carry food. We do not have carriers as we do not endorse the use of plastic."
Noida and Greater Noida remain one of the biggest Coronavirus hotspots in the country. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the region stands at 103 with 48 recoveries and 55 still under treatment. Overall in Uttar Pradesh, the case count tops 1,600 with 25 deaths and 247 recoveries.