top of page

COVID 19 – Relief from DSS

1. The Situation


a) Virus Attack:

Covid-19 and its spread was not grasped fully until March 23rd, 2020. Meanwhile the spread from primary contacts and secondary contacts has already taken place. Realizing the rapid spread of the virus, the Central and State Governments declared lock-down of all social life from March 23rd 2020. The lock-down was extended in two phases. But, later, the Governments felt that entire economic activity had come to stand still and lifted the lock down in phases. Now there is no lock down or prohibition of any activity and with that the virus spread rapidly. As on date the number of cases in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is on the rise.


In Andhra Pradesh, the districts of Guntur, Kurnool, East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna are worst affected while in Telangana Hyderabad, Suryapet and Ranga Reddy districts are affected with a greater number of cases.There appears to be every danger of further spread of the virus.This is happening due to negligence of certain sections of the people in strictly adhering to the norms of social distancing and other precautions.


b) The Lock-down and the People:

The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and the lock-down measures in its wake has taken everyone unawares and shocked. The sudden declaration of lock-down has affected everyone in various ways. The well to do could purchase all needed essential commodities and stay at home, while the Dalits, daily wage earners, migrant workers and all other marginalized sections were driven to starve at home.They have no reserve funds or bank balances to purchase essential commodities. They have to work every day to buy their daily needs and now they are starving.


Not only the daily wage workers, even other workers like vegetable vendors, fruit vendors and others who do petty trades are driven to starvation due to lock down. Likewise, all small job holders like those who work in cloth shops, tailoring shops, malls, theatres, hotels, bars & restaurants, hospitals, etc are driven to bankruptcy. These small job holders now can’t pay house rents, purchase essential commodities for feeding the families. Due to lock-down servant maids, mostly dalit women, who work in number of houses and earn monthly wages are also driven to starve at homes. Most of these servant maids and small job holders reside in rented houses in slums or crowded colonies.Now they can’t pay the rent for their small houses in slums. All the above-mentioned labour class mostly belong to Dalit Adivasi sections of the society. And all these daily wage labourers are facing severe crisis in the present pandemic. All the working areas of Dalit Sthree Sakthi has a very high number of such communities and individuals who are caught by this situation and are under life threat.


2. What Dalit Sthree Sakthi has Done


a) Awareness among the cadre:

DSS created a WhatsApp group with the women collective leaders, youth leaders, district coordinators and state team. All members of the group are in touch on daily basis exchanging information through messages and conference calls so that everyone knows what the other is doing. Everyone has been given the task of spreading awareness about the need to strictly adhere to the norms of social distancing and other precautions to be taken to protect oneself and the community.


b) Data Collection of Most Needy People:

In co-ordination withthe NCDHR, Delhi, the team of DSS downloaded “CLAIMS” application and collected the data of the people who are in dire need of essential commodities in the period of lock-down and filled up the details of the people in the districts of Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari, Chittoor, Visakhapatnam, Ranga Reddy and Adilabad. The CLAIMS application records the details of the individual and community who are severely affected by the present pandemic situation. There is a provision of allotting different packages to the individuals whose details are recorded thru the application and further processed with the government for the respective aid.


c) Distribution of Essential Commodities to Needy Dalit Families:

The amount sanctioned by Christian Aid for relief is about Rs.1,30,000/. The amount at the disposal of DSS being very limited, it was planned to see that the neediest beneficiaries be identified and helped with limited relief package.

Dalit families are the worst sufferers along with other marginalized sections. Though migrant workers were also starving without work and food, their need was mostly transport. They were all desperately trying to go back to their native states at any cost, by walk, by trucks etc. There was lot of media and social media coverage on the exodus of migrant workers and a large number of philanthropic individuals and NGOs came forward to feed the trekking migrant workers at various places enrooted. Though belatedly the Governments also responded to their calamity and arranged special trains to various states and supplied food.

In case of Dalits who are dependent on daily wages there was not much relief from the government, excepting supply of rice to the white ration card holders. There was no media coverage on the plight of Dalits. Philanthropists/NGOs concentrating on relief to dalit families in villages is negligible. Most of the poor dalit families economic sources have dried up totally as they don’ have any work to do. Quite a number of dalit families work as agricultural labourers, petty vendors, auto drivers, taxi drivers, construction workers, masons, hamalis at wholesale markets/ transport companies etc. Dalit women and girls also go as agricultural labour, vegetable vendors, helpers in shops, servant maids, work in factories, run petty shops at home etc. Due to Covidlock-down all these activities came to an end and there was no way for the dalit families to make both ends meet. Not only all fiscal activity providing some succour to Dalits is closed but there is no hope also that it may revive in the near future. In these circumstances, the poor dalit families are in dire need of relief to endure and survive.


In view of the above situation, DSS decided to lend a helping hand to the poor dalit families identified by it. The staff and women collective leaders of the districts in which DSS is functioning have been pressed into service and they identified a few most needy families for extending relief. Further, it was also felt that most of the families have no problem with rice as it was supplied to them by the government and they need oil and pulses which they are unable to purchase. Hence, DSS made bulk purchase of oil, pulses and vegetables and distributed to the identified families as per the details given below.


Andhra Pradesh:

Essential Commodities like Oil, Pulses and vegetables were distributed at the following places on the dates mentioned:

Guntur District:

  • On 29-05-2020 in the villages of Angala Kuduru and Kopalle of Tenali, Mandal, Guntur district.

  • On 30-05-2020 in the villages of Peda Ravuru, Katevaram and Sajjanna Peta, Tenali Mandal, Guntur District.

  • On 30-05-2020, Stambala Garuvu area of Guntur town, Guntur district.

Krishna district:


  • On 31-05-2020 dalit residential areas of Vijayawada slums were covered. Rani Gari Thota, Tarakarama Nagar, Balaji Nagar, Kamayya Thopu, Kanuru, Pezzone Peta were covered.

West Godavari:

  • On 24-06-2020 villages of Vatluru, Pina Kadimi, Chodimella were covered.

Telangana State:

Ranga Reddy district:

  • On 22-06-2020, relief was distributed in the villages of BodamPahad, Ranga Reddy district.

  • On the same day i.e. on 22-06-2020 relief was distributed in Gundala village, Chevella mandal, Ranga Reddy district.

  • On 23-06-2020 Aluru village, Chevella Mandal, Ranga Reddy district.

Vikarabad district:

  • On 23-06-2020 Yethirajpalli village, Nawab Pet mandal, Vikarabad district.

Advocacy with Government:

DSS through its cadre gathered information that a few families in the red zone of Guntur district are in dire need of essential commodities. DSS represented to the district Collector of Guntur district to help the needy people of villages of Guntur district. When the DSS team contacted and requested the Guntur district administration, the District Collector directed one donor, namely Sarada Peetam, to distribute their packages to the identified people indicated by DSS. As such, Sarada Petam distributed relief through the District Women Collective leaders of DSS. The local DSS women collective leaders of each village identified the neediest single women, widowed and deficient families and guided the distribution accordingly. Rice, oil, dal, wheat, turmeric powder, mirchi powder, salt and vegetables in the villages of Takkellapadu, Uppalapadu and Namburu.

Likewise, DSS contacted the Collector and DIG of Visakhapatnam and requested them to help the families in dire need of essential commodities in the red zone area, Allipuram slum in Visakhapatnam city. They immediately responded and arranged for distribution relief to the needy families.

The details of the rescue given to these families is mentioned below:

​Area

District/ State

No of Families which received relief

Supported by

Pedaravuru Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

40

Christian Aid

Stambala Garuvu Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

35

Christian Aid

Katevaram Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

50

Christian Aid

Angala Kuduru Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

35

Christian Aid

Sajjanapet Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

45

Christian Aid

Kopalle Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

40

Christian Aid

Kamayyathopu Village

Krishna District/ Andhra Pradesh

36

Christian Aid

Pejjonipet slum

Krishna District/ Andhra Pradesh

38

Christian Aid

​Ranigarithota

Krishna District/ Andhra Pradesh

45

Christian Aid

Tharakaramanagar

Krishna District/ Andhra Pradesh

38

Christian Aid

Kanuru

Krishna District/ Andhra Pradesh

40

Christian Aid

Vatluru Village

West Godavari District/ Andhra Pradesh

40

Christian Aid

Chodimella Village

West Godavari District/ Andhra Pradesh

37

Christian Aid

​​Pinakadimi

West Godavari District/ Andhra Pradesh

36

Christian Aid

​Bodampahad

Shabad/Ranga Reddy District

45

Christian Aid

Gundala

Chevella/ Ranga Reddy District

40

Christian Aid

Allor

Chevella/ Ranga Reddy District

45

Christian Aid

Ethirajpalli

​Navabpet/ Ranga Reddy District

39

Christian Aid

Takkellapadu Village

80

​Christian Aid

​Uppalapadu Village

​Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

65

Sharadapeetam Trust

Namburu Village

Guntur District/ Andhra Pradesh

150

​Sharadapeetam Trust

Allipuram

Vishakhapatnam/ Andhra Pradesh

200

Vishakhapatnam District/ Andhra Pradesh