Kerala DC shows the way; “Operation Sulaimani” costs nothing to nobody…
By N.K.A Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
What a difference a committed IAS Officer can do is reflected in this initiative taken by one Mr. Prashant Nair, the District Collector of Kozhikode, a district in Kerala.
Sulaimani is a popular drink in Kerala, a concoction of black tea, cardamom and lemon juice. This operation was inspired by a movie called “Ustaad Hotel”. The basic premise was that no one should go hungry in this town and at the same time food had to be served with dignity and with no questions asked. The Collector roped in the hotel association of the district and they readily agreed to be part of the venture.
It is very simple. Twentyfive (25) Centres in the city, including some counters in the bus stand, railway station, district offices, taluk offices, distribute food coupons to the needy without any questions. Coupons were also distributed with the newspapers with the intent that those who read about this would give it to some needy person.
An army of volunteers went around the city to spread the word and distribute the coupons. People having these coupons can venture to any of the designated 100 restaurants in the city and have their meal with dignity.
Donation boxes have been kept in these restaurants and other prominent places, where other patrons of the restaurants and visitors donate willingly. The owners of the restaurants are authorised to take out the money from the donation boxes in exchange for the value they have served.
This “Operation Sulaimani” has become so popular, it has become a people’s movement. The District Collector recently refused a donation of Rs. one crore from a rich local for this cause since he wanted to fund this programme from the local funding only. Till date about 10,000 meals have been served to the hungry and needy. Imagine a full fledged food programme has been launched without any investment of a kitchen or staffing etc. And no Government funding too !
District Collector, why not replicate this idea in our city? I am sure our hoteliers would be more than happy to help and it will also eradicate hunger from the streets of Mysore.