They collect chappatis to feed stray cattle, birds in Katra town
By Bunty Mahajan
Katra: Every morning, Arun Sharma, a 40-year-old hotelier and a local businessman leaves home not for any business assignment, but to collect chappatis from the neighbourhood.
His is not an isolated case as he is joined by many others who under the banner of SAHAS, an NGO, have taken upon themselves the task of feeding those who have stand ignored by many during the COVID pandemic. The chappatis, they collect from people, are for stray dogs, monkeys and the birds, while they contribute among themselves to purchase fodder for the cattle.
For this, the NGO has kept small drums at specified places. For chappatis, the NGO members approach households on rotation every evening requesting them to make two-three extra rotis for stray animals and birds next morning.
After collecting the chappatis, they gather in Katra bazaar and start making small pieces of these rotis for the birds and monkeys who are in abundance in the town. While the local police provide them vegetables and milk, the Public Health Engineering Department supplies water through tankers.
They mix these small pieces of rotis with milk and put them at various places in Katra town and its outskirts for birds, stray dogs and even monkeys. For the fodder and water, they have kept tubs made out of plastic containers at various places.
The NGO is even providing rice and curd to pilgrims who are visiting Katra to have darshan of Mata Vaishnodevi shrine.
With daily number of pilgrims having come down to 300-400 from 25,000-30,000 in view of pandemic situation and the closure of all shops, hotels and other establishments due to Corona lockdown, we decided to arrange langers for pilgrims, as also the stray animals and birds so that they may not face any difficulty here during difficult times, said Arun Sharma, president of SAHAS.
The NGO has active members in Rajinder Kumar Balu, Anil Sadhotra, Satish Sapolia, Sham Pujari, Diwakar Sharma, Kamal Kishore, Rakesh Sharma, Rakesh Kuma, Rashid Rahi, Subham Sharma, Amrik Singh, Sanjay Padha and Rajat Gandotra, he said, adding that they are supported by many others in Katra town and elsewhere Reasi district for the noble cause.
During last year pandemic situation also, the NGO had provided food to pilgrims, poneywallas and pithuus who had got stranded in the town due to lockdown.