The story untold
Imphal: Revenue is not a matter of concern for a food caterer when it comes to the frontline of providing food to PG doctors on duty at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal in the Covid-19 crisis.
Devenkishor Khurajam, a resident of Imphal West, with her wife’s support, runs a canteen for doctors doing PG at RIMS complex for the past ten years. He engages at least 13 people mostly youths in his catering service.
He has closed his canteen since July 16, the day a doctor undergoing PG at the institute tested positive for Covid-19. Several staff including doctors and nurses of the hospital, and patients became infected with the corona virus. Four patients of the hospital died with Covid-19.
However, he continues his service for the sake of doctors by shifting the kitchen at his home.
“This is my job, a means for survival and service to doctors,” says food caterer Devenkishor.
At present he is providing breakfast, lunch as well as dinner packs of 35-50 according to the day’s demand. Earlier, working inside the complex he provided food for 80 doctors daily.
The doctors order their preferred menus, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines on phone.
“Amid the lockdown woes I struggle at least to provide meals with the available inputs. It is difficult to get vegetables, grains, fish and chicken among other kitchen inputs as markets everywhere have been shut. Prices of commodities have gone up. I have to go to farms in far-flung locations to procure them,” Devenkishor said.
He said only packaging charge is added to the earlier prices of food packs accept for few items like chicken.
At present the kitchen workload has been reduced with the decline in demand. He is keeping all of his employees despite of short returns. Some of them stay at his home, provided food. “Where will my people go in this turmoil? How can I cut their remuneration?” He said.
When the situation was normal and when he was working inside the RIMS complex he got the opportunity to cater food in seminars and workshops.
“The total lockdown is very strict, wherever we go for the job police stop us at different locations and we have to explain everything,” one of his men said.
The team tries to maintain the SOP norms during their service for the doctors. The foods are packed using safety materials and finally put in a bag to be delivered at the hospital complex.
“I will serve the doctors as long as I can,” Devenkishor said.