In a noble gesture, a 30-year-old rickshaw driver, who had saved 2 rupees for his wedding but had postponed the ceremony because of a blockade, has now used the money to feed migrant workers and people in need on the streets of Pune.
Akshai Kothavel does not stop there, but also helps the elderly and pregnant women by offering them free trips to clinics in his car, as well as excursions through the city to inform them on how to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
With the help of his friends, Kothawale cooks for almost 400 people a day with the money he has saved from his marriage. They then walk the streets of the city and distribute food to migrant workers and the poor.
In his speech to the ITP, Mr Cotavale, who comes from a modest background, said he was happy to help others in this time of crisis.
Akshai Kothavale, a rickshaw driver, distributes food to the needy from the money saved during the wedding ceremony.
As a rickshaw driver I was able to save about 2 rupees for my wedding, which was for the 25th wedding anniversary. The month of May was planned. But because of the high level of isolation we found it inappropriate to hold the ceremony now, so the bride and I decided to postpone the wedding, he said.
During his isolation, Cotawaale painfully observed several poor people, in particular migrant workers experiencing difficulties due to lack of work and income.
I saw a lot of people on the street who couldn’t even afford a meal and had trouble surviving. Then some of my friends and I thought of something to help the daily betting and the people in need, he said.
I decided to spend my savings on the business, and some of my friends invested it too, said Cothaveil, a resident of the timber market of Maharashtra City.
Then they set up a kitchen and started preparing chapatism and sabja (flat bread and vegetables), which they distributed in places where migrant workers and people in need gather.
With my auto rickshaw we distribute food to the people of Maldhakka Chowk near the station in the districts of Sangamwadi and Yerawada, he said.
Because his money also dried up quickly, Kothavale and his friends decided to replace the chapati sabji with pulao, masala or sambhar rice, he says.
But we continue to distribute food to migrant workers and the needy, he said.
The group intends to continue to support the population with the means at its disposal, at least until 31 December 2009. May to continue providing food aid.
Kotvala also installed a loudspeaker on his rickshaw with which he and his friends drew attention to the coronavirus and how they could protect themselves against it.
The group also distributed masks and sanitary facilities to people living in roadside areas.
Under the blockade I also offer free rickshaw rides for the elderly and pregnant women who need to see a doctor, according to Cotavale.
He added that during last year’s floods in Sangli Kolhapur, he and his comrades sent food and other relief items to people affected by the floods.