Relief supplies have been distributed to 1,895 families in the first 10 days of the lockdown in East Rajabazar.
People concerned believe the relief distribution for the destitute is playing a significant role behind the success of the lockdown in the area because food supply can help keep the poor people in their house.
The Dhaka North City Corporation has allocated 150 tonnes of rice and Tk12 lakh in cash as a weekly allotment to 3,000 poor families in East Rajabazar. However, before the government allocation was received, the council office in ward 27 started relief distribution from the first day of the lockdown.
Each family is being given five kilogrammes of rice, three kilogrammes of potatoes, one kilogramme of lentils, one kilogramme of onion and one bar of soap for one week.
A list of volunteers with their names and mobile phone numbers has been put up in every alley of Rajabazar for those who want to collect government relief. Besides, the volunteers went to different houses and continued to try to find the needy ones.
"In the first 10 days, we have delivered relief for a week to 1,895 families. Many of these families have also been given relief for the second time," said Masud Hossain Sumon, a coordinator of the volunteers.
"We are giving relief to all those who are communicating with us. However, due to social status, many do not want to contact for relief. In those cases, we are secretly providing relief," he added.
Meanwhile, the army yesterday gave 100 packets of food to the poor people in East Rajabazar. Besides, 300 packets of 200 ml milk were also given as baby food. The relief will be distributed as per the list of the councillor's office, Masud said further.
Kamola, a middle-aged woman, who has received the relief, said she used to work at a hotel on Green Road before the lockdown started. Now she is worried about whether she will retain her job.
However, the problem is created by the middle and upper class as there is no end to their demands despite the availability of all kinds of food items in the area. They want some products that are probably available only in a very few areas of Dhaka city, added Masud.
Faridur Rahman Khan Iran, councillor of Dhaka North City Corporation's ward 27, said, "We have been distributing relief among the poor people on our own since the first day of the lockdown before the government allocation was received."
"As long as Covid-19 outbreak stays, I will feed the poor people on my initiative. I will not wait for the government allocation," he added.
Among the areas marked as red zones where coronavirus infections are high, the first experimental lockdown was imposed on East Rajabazar on June 10. The 14-day lockdown ends next Tuesday.