Sunday, April 19, 2020

Covid, Covidiots and people reaction


If wealth could be measured in compassion and kindness, tribal villagers of Dangapal village in Odisha would have been one of the wealthiest. Not to be left behind in strengthening India’s fight against corona, every household of this village has contributed to #PMCARES Fund.

In the coming years, when the coronavirus is, hopefully, history, researchers may be able to assess the huge contribution made by ‘Covidiots’ to the spread of the pandemic. The reference is not merely to the World Health Organisation that was slow to alert the world because it was wary of offending China. Much after the threat from Covid-19 was realised, some Covidiots stepped in to worsen the situation. In India, the contribution of the ‘one source’ convention in Delhi’s Nizamuddin to aggravating the problem nationally has provoked outrage and even had a political fallout. In Jaipur’s Ramganj locality, a Covidiot who ignored the protocol after returning from Oman is said to have infected 232 people. In the coming days, the misdeeds of many more Covidiots are likely to surface.

Covid has affected every field, every country and has exposed people too.  In Europe, the repercussions of football being placed on hold until further notice is being felt across the pyramid, including by those supposedly flush with cash in the coffers. Some clubs face going out of business, many players fear losing their livelihoods, not to mention the support staff behind the scenes, from physios to press officers.  Arch rivals, Manchester United and Manchester City are putting aside their footballing rivalry and joining hands in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic which has brought the whole world to a standstill.  The legendary football clubs are going to donate 50,000 pounds each to help food banks in Greater Manchester meet increased demand from vulnerable people, as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

India is supreme – there are always good people response.  IT czar Azim Premji committed Rs. 1000 crore ($134 million) through his philanthropic arm, the Azim Premji Foundation. In a release on Wednesday, the company said that the foundation’s 1,600 employees will work together with the government and healthcare workers. The money will be used for humanitarian aid and for beefing up healthcare support targeted at containment and treatment of the disease. Mukesh Ambani  contributed Rs. 500 crore ($67 million) to the prime minister’s fund; Rs. 5 crores ($660,000) for the relief fund of the chief minister of Maharashtra, Ambani's home state, and an equal amount for the relief fund of the chief minister of Gujarat state, where Reliance's biggest refinery complex is located. This follows a slew of measures announced by Ambani that range from setting up a 100-bed COVID unit in Mumbai to providing free meals across multiple cities to a daily production of 100,000 masks by Reliance.

Ratan Tata, who chairs India’s oldest philanthropic outfit, Tata Trusts, the biggest shareholder of the group's holding firm, Tata Sons, has earmarked Rs. 500 crore ($67 million) towards tackling the pandemic. This sum is said to include covering the costs of protective gear, ventilators, testing kits; the establishment of modular treatment centers and training for healthcare workers. Tata Group Chairman N. Chandrasekaran pledged an additional Rs. 1000 crore ($134 million) to support activities in collaboration with Tata Trusts. He said that the Tata Group is getting ready to manufacture ventilators soon.

Privately held Mankind Pharma, whose founder Ramesh Juneja and his family figure among India's richest, has promised Rs. 51 crore ($7 million) toward relief activities.  .. the list is really long .. .. Apart from Bollywood celebs, Indian sports fraternity also joined the race to raise funds to fight the coronavirus menace. Among the cricketers, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar donated Rs 50 lakh to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. India's richest sporting body, the BCCI, pledged a donation of Rs 51 crore to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund in country's fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Suresh Raina donated Rs 52 lakh to combat the deadly coronavirus.  Star India batsman Rohit Sharma has donated Rs 80 lakhs.

While all that is positive – the newsitem in Times of India, Chennai edition today is disgusting to say the least : ‘2 lawyers donate Re 1 for lockdown relief’ - Bar Council To Give Them ‘Certificate Of Appreciation’.. .. .. How low can someone stoop to belittle people’s collective effort to fight the fallout of coronavirus? Ask two lawyers of the Madras high court. They ‘donated’ Re1(Rupee One Only) to the lockdown relief fund of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Two other advocates have ‘donated’ Rs10 (Rupees 10 only) each.

These princely sums were transferred to the council’s bank account through e-transfer mode. The council, which has mobilised more than 60 lakh so far, has now decided to acknowledge these donations and issue a certificate to these star donors appreciating their spirit of giving. It has already published the donations along with the bank transfer details on its website. Vice-chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and senior advocate S Prabakaran said details of all the four lawyers have been traced, and they would be given the certificate in appreciation of their attitude towards the lockdown relief fund.

Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry started the fund collection drive in response to calls from different sections of the legal fraternity highlighting the pitiable economic condition of hundreds of lawyers across the state due to the lockdown. Justice S M Subramaniam kicked off the campaign by donating 2.5 lakh to the fund. Several top lawyers have donated up to 5 lakh each. Of the 216 donors, two have given Re 1 each and two others have donated 10 each, Prabakaran said, adding that while one person has transferred 101, another two people have sent 200 each. Others have donated 500 and more.

It’s like making a mockery of the exercise, said R C Paul Kanagaraj, Bar Council member. The former president of Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA), who first requested the council to float a cash relief scheme for indigent lawyers and then filed a writ petition in the Madras high court, condemned the 1 ‘donation’. “Donation is a voluntary act. One may or may not agree with Good Samaritan initiatives. One may or may not make any contribution. But it is not fair to humiliate the very initiative by donating paltry sums and making a mockery of the exercise,” Paul Kanagaraj said.  Since the lockdown came into force, several representations were given to government and the bar council by lawyers, and cases, including one filed by senior advocate A E Chelliah, demanded relief ranging from 10,000 to 20,000. Bowing to the pressure, the council floated the fund with Justice Subramaniam’s contribution.

Away from the melee the pic at the start is that Mrs Shanti Devi Gusaini of Chamoli Garhwal. She gave 1 lakh rupees in #PMCaresFund to fight #Kovid_19. Her husband had served in indian army.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19.4.2020.

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