A private hospital in the city has come forward to help dhakis (drummers) monetarily at a time when their livelihood has been impacted by the Covid pandemic.
Ruby General Hospital has reached out to about 50 dhakis across pujas celebrated in housing complexes.
As part of the corporate social responsibility activity, the hospital is giving each dhaki a token amount and a complimentary health check-up.
“The pandemic has impacted their livelihood and many of the pujas who would require eight to 10 dhakis now have only two or four. The number of pujas is also less and the scale has been reduced as well. So, we thought of standing by them,” said Subhasish Datta, chief general manager, operations of the hospital.
The hospital has reached out to 13 puja pandals primarily in south Kolkata and Salt Lake. The distribution took place on Monday in pandals.
Dhaak is an integral part of Durga Puja and the dhakis come from remote parts of the state. It is a tradition and practice for dhakis to come to Kolkata and many families look forward to this time of the year for a lumpsum earning.
Unfortunately, the pandemic had impacted them as much as it has other sectors. Many pandals had to curtail their puja budget, impacting the livelihood of the dhakis.
The health check-up will be a general one with emphasis on cardiology, an official of the hospital said.
“There could be a few young dhakis also. So, if they want, we can extend the cardiac check-up to a senior family member,” said Datta.
Besides blood tests, the test includes echocardiography. Many dhakis might not have access or the resources to get these cardiac tests done.