IIT Alumni Help for Casual Workers, ‘Safai Dadas’
Source: Times of India
Help is pouring in for the ‘safai dadas’ and casual workers of IIT Kharagpur, all thanks to the alumni. The financial assistance, however, is not only limited to mess workers and ‘safai dadas’ at the hostels or halls of residence but also for security guards, rickshaw pullers, Toto drivers and domestic helps, for whom the campus is the only source of livelihood.
It took a few days to raise Rs 8 crore by the alumni-driven IIT Foundation, in consultations with the institute. The first installment of Rs 2.5 crore has already reached the institute and it is being disbursed in a novel way. The initiative was started by alumni and Founder of DatabaseUSA, Vinod Gupta.
An amount of Rs 3,000 has been deposited in the bank accounts of the 1,200 casual outsourced employees like mess and sanitation workers. More than 10,000 others, connected with the “IIT-ecosystem”, are being given monthly ration. The money will keep coming to their accounts every alternate month till December, while the ration is monthly.
There are 22 halls of residence (hostels) and during the three- month long lockdown, 5,500 students stayed here choosing not to leave the campus. To serve them, the mess, sanitation and security workers were also accommodated to minimize chances of disease contraction.
“Vinod Gupta was reminded of his student days when once he had fallen ill and a hostel ward boy, lovingly called Papaya by the students, nursed him back. Similar memories are common among our alumni,” said director, V K Tewari.
“Not a single domestic help or a worker in a shop near the campus have been left out,” said Subrata Chattopadhyay, dean, alumni affairs.
Others helping Gupta in the initiative are US-based architect and president of the IIT-Kgp Foundation Ranabir Gupta, co-founder of HCL Arjun Malhotra, former president of L&T R N Mukhija and former President of AtoZdatabases, Rakesh Gupta.