Mumbai: Coronavirus has sent humankind indoors, leaving strays in extreme distress. The lockdown, coupled with the scorching heat in the city has made it a living hell for man's best friends. Water and food are hard to find and their plight is pitiable.
Those who feed these canines regularly are unable to do so now, given lockdown restrictions on movement. It has also become hard to procure scraps for strays at this time.
Senior animal activist Nishad Nevgi feeds as many as 300 strays on a daily basis. His NGO also rescues them and looks after them. But the lockdown has put paid to this service.
"The food which we feed strays comes from Thailand. With the lockdown, imports have stopped and and it has became difficult to procure food for them. Also, we do not have the financial means to switch to alternatives," said Nevgi.
Standing by the feeders, in an unprecedented 'public-politician' partnership - Bandra (East) MLA Zeeshan Siddique and a citizens' group, the Mumbai North Central District Forum (MNCDF), have joined hands with several NGOs and independent animal feeders, to provide regular food and water to the strays and raise awareness against cruelty.
Sidddique, along with the MNCDF, has donated high-quality stray food to NGOs and independent feeders and has also initiated awareness drives, explaining that Covid-19 is not spread through animals and one must not abandon their pet in these testing times.
"Ever since coronavirus has been spreading, stray animals are starving. To do our bit, Siddique and we have come together in a public-politician partnership and decided to help volunteers in reaching out to the strays," said Trivankumar Karnani, founder, MNCDF.
"Rumours are being spread that strays are carriers of Covid-19. Apart from feeding them we are also spreading awareness on this," added Karnani.
The initiative was been conceived by Siddique, who not only has provided the MNCDF with food but has also assured that they will not face any hindrance while carrying out this task.
"I am happy that I was able to help stray animals through the MNCDF by reaching out to multiple animal welfare NGOs and independent feeders. This is a testing time and as human beings, we must not forget the voiceless stray animals of Mumbai," said Siddique.
"MLA Siddique has provided us with high-quality products and assured us we will not face any hindrances while carrying our duty," said Nevgi.