Bihar’s vegetable vendor is on a mission to arrest pandemic in his own way
Akhbar Ali, a vegetable hawker in Bihar’s West Champaran district, has taken to the distribution of masks and sanitiser among the poor and underprivileged in his bid to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A resident of Dafalitoli area of Bagaha in West Champaran, Ali is on move for weeks now and has already distributed masks and sanitiser worth over ₹10,000. Ali was moved by an incident where he saw a poor family picking up masks littered at a place in Bagaha Bazaar.
“The incident was the one which prompted me to stand for such people. The early it (pandemic) gets over, the better it is for all of us. One needs to stand for each other in this hour irrespective of one’s earning, “ he said.
“Yaha gaarib aur majbooron ko free mask diya jata. (free masks are available for poor people here),“ read one sticker put up by Ali.
Other read, “Samajik duri banaye rakhe. Mask ka upyog kare. (maintain social distancing and use masks).”
Ali, whose primary mode of livelihood is by selling vegetables on carts in Bagaha every day, has his handcart laden with masks and sanitiser with stickers pasted all around. He plies it through the weary roads and by-lanes of Bagaha after 10 am.
“He mainly gives the mask and sanitisers generously to the have nots. Those shelving the precautionary measures by not using masks are persuaded by him to follow the preventive protocol,” said Ashok Gupta, a Bagaha-based businessman.
“He makes no compromise with his business. Till 10 am, he is a sabjiwala who ferries vegetables in the town,” said Gupta.
Ali, however, is not dependent on any contribution to carry forward his social work. He purchases the masks from his savings and earnings that he makes by selling vegetables.
“A couple of days back only he purchased masks and sanitiser in bulk from my shop to distribute them among the needy,” said Naveen Kumar, a Bagaha-based businessman.