Sumon Das works in a barber shop in Mymensingh city. He has found it difficult to afford food because he has been unemployed for a long time due to the Covid-19 shutdown. He is reluctant to stand in line to get relief material. One day, a sack full of rice, lentils, oil and potatoes was delivered to his house.
Later, Sumon came to know that city mayor Ekramul Haque Titu has made a list of people like him and delivered food items to their homes in this way.
Not only Sumon, many middle and lower middle income people in the city have had such an experience.
The mayor of Mymensingh City Corporation is always by the side of the people when most of the people's representatives stay at home to keep safe from the Covid-19 infection. Every day he goes to different wards to make sure that relief items reach the helpless.
As of Sunday, the mayor distributed 43,500 packets of food on his own initiative. And 69,000 packets have been given from the city corporation.
Each packet contains five kilogrammes of rice, two kilogrammes of lentils, two kilogrammes of potatoes, one kilogramme of oil and soap. Besides, cash assistance of Tk71.32 lakh has been provided to 4,755 people.
After finishing his office work in the morning, the mayor then starts awareness programmes to prevent the spread of Covid-19. From the afternoon he seeks out helpless people and asks if anyone is starving. Ward-based relief distribution activities continue till well after sunset. After taking some rest, he distributes food among displaced people till midnight.
Advocate Shibbir Ahmed Liton, regional coordinator of the Bangladesh Human Rights Commission in Mymensingh, says there has been no report of irregularities or malpractice in government relief distribution so far because the mayor plays a proactive role in making the list of helpless people.
Shankar Saha, vice-president of the Mymensingh Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said the mayor is monitoring the market to keep the price of the products at a tolerable level and solving problems of traders on his own.
"There is little need for a mobile court because the mayor identifies the problems on the ground," added Shankar Saha.
Mayor Ekramul Haque Titu said it would be embarrassing for a people's representative not to know who is helpless among the voters.
"I think it is my duty to stand by their side during their grief. So I don't have to stay at home. I work for them and l look after my own safety at the same time, "added Mayor Titu.
Meanwhile, mayor Titu's wife Mila Haque said that she wants to keep her husband at home like everyone else during this pandemic.
"But in reality it is not possible. He has to work for the people. So let him go out even if there is cause for fear."
Asaduzzaman, councilor of the city's ward No. 1, said the people who are really in need are getting help because the mayor is active all the time. The councilors are encouraged by the steps being taken by the mayor.
"I'm afraid to go out and help in the Covid-19 effort, but the mayor's active role in relief distribution gives me courage," said Asaduzzaman.