Guwahati’s own ‘Sonu Soods’ Offering Yeoman Service in Helping the Stranded Get Home
When India entered a nation-wide lockdown owing to coronavirus, many migrant labourers and tourists were left stranded with no place to stay and no food to eat.
Seeing the plight of people stranded in various parts of Assam, a group of friends decided to pool in their resources and help them. The aim was that everyone should have a roof over their heads and food to eat.
These social workers have been silently working ever since the first lockdown was implemented on March 24, and have sent thousands of stranded persons back to their homes in various districts of Assam as well as outside the state.
As the word started spreading, these young men were termed 'Guwahati's own Sonu Soods’ by many on social media.
“We started working ever since the first lockdown was implemented. I noticed that many NGOs were working to help migrant labourers but they were facing issues in obtaining travel permissions and arranging for their stay. So I contacted some of my friends and relatives who could help in the process. Soon, we formed a group and started providing all necessary help to the stranded persons. In the beginning, we were only providing shelter and food. However, we noticed many wanted to go back home but were stuck due to financial difficulties. In the month of April, we had contacted the DC office and started arranging for vehicles to send them home,” informed Vijay Sharma, a resident of Athgaon, who was one of the team members.
The group comprised many social workers including Vijay Sharma who helped with the travel permissions, Dinesh Pareek who arranged for stay at various Bhawans, Arvind Pareek, Ramesh Pareek, Amit Pareek and Rajkumar Sharma who arranged for monetary help, food supply, and other services.
They sent buses as well as private vehicles to various states including Tripura, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu to help thousands of people reach their homes.
The vehicles were sanitized and the stranded persons underwent temperature screening before beginning any home-bound journey. All arrangements for the journey were also made by the team – packed food, water, and fruits were arranged for all to stay healthy as they embarked on the journey.
As the government of Assam continues the cycle of Lock-Unlock (down), they have been actively looking out for people who get stranded in the process.
Their efforts have been recognized by many individuals and social organizations for spreading positivity through fieldwork during these difficult times and being COVID-warriors. They have also received certificates of appreciation from organizations such as Marwari Yuva Manch (Great Warrior Recognition).
“It gives us immense happiness that we could be of help at the right time and we shall continue our service,” expressed Vijay Sharma, speaking to G Plus.