The year 2020 took on a new dimension of experiences in the overwhelming challenge of coronavirus. Dileep Chand, a 51-year-old tribal man from Kuleth village near GMR Bajoli-Holi Hydro Power Project, was amongst many who had to suffer when the pandemic hit the nation. Survived by his wife, children and grandchildren, he worked as an agriculture labour and earned a meagre income which could barely meet his family expenses. To supplement his income, he started working as a helper at a dhaba, and in several other local shops for many years. His son also stood beside to support him and their family needs. But both father and son could have never imagined what uncertainty was awaiting for them.
During the lockdown period, they lost their jobs in the shops and were left with no source of income. Both the father and son tried their hands at numerous odd jobs to sustain their family. With no savings or other source of income, he and his family were barely surviving. Employment and labour issues had intensified during the COVID-19 crisis. Immediate and purposeful support to save lives and livelihoods became of utmost importance.
At these turbulent times, GMR's CSR arm -GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF) stepped in for support under its Backyard Poultry Initiative for COVID affected families. Special variety of 'Him Samridhi' chicks leveraged from the Government of Animal Husbandry department were provided to marginalized farmers under this program.
Since Dileep had experience of rearing chicks earlier he was supported with 50 chicks aged three weeks, along with 20 kg feed and feeder kit. Seizing this opportunity, Dileep utilized his home space for poultry rearing and took good care of them. In the first few cycles, he made a good profit by selling chicken and eggs at the local market. The Foundation also linked him with local project mess for supplying meat and eggs. Today, Dileep is not only making a decent income, but is also keen to expand this poultry business with support from the tribal welfare department.