A social organisation on Saturday handed over food items to the crew of four ships who have not been allowed to deboard for nine days by a section of Nadia residents who fear they might spread the coronavirus.
The Telegraph on Saturday reported about the plight of the 36 crew of a private vessel management company who had been cooped up in their ships at Guptipara ghat in Santipur since their arrival from Kochi on April 2.
After reading about the plight of the crew members, a four member team from the social organisation Ichhey visited two of the ships and handed over for all 36 crew members 80kg rice, 60kg potatoes, 20kg red lentils, 15 litres mustard oil, 8kg soybean nuggets, 40 packets of biscuits and 40 packs of puffed rice.
Polson Ghosh, a finalyear law student and secretary of Ichhey, said: “We read about the troubles being faced by the crew…. The inhuman behaviour of the local residents is shocking. I discussed the issue on our WhatsApp group and pooled in money to procure essential food items for the ships’ crew. Later, four of us visited the ships and delivered the items to them.
“We appealed to the villagers not to panic unnecessarily, rather extend support to the crew by maintaining physical distance as far as possible…. We are hopeful that this will satisfy the needs of the crew for a few days. We will arrange for more if they have to stay for long.”
After learning that the crew were being forced to drink river water in the absence of drinking water, Santipur municipality chairman Ajoy Dey sent them 20 water cans, each containing 20 litres. “We have sent them drinking water. We will also take care of their other needs,” he said.
Santipur police have deputed two civic police volunteers for round the clock surveillance at the ghat so that none can harass the stranded crew.
The captain of one of the ships, N. Satyanarayan Prasad, said: “We are moved by the friendly gesture of the members of Ichhey. They saved us from starving. We are also thankful to the local administration, which has also come and assured us of all support”.
Inland Waterways Authority of India officials in Calcutta said the crew members were expected to be sent home on April 14.