Ranni: In a rare initiative, 15 flood-affected families at Aithala, near here, have opened a common kitchen as their houses are yet to become habitable.
These flood-ravaged houses are double-storied and on the banks of the Pamba River in Pathanamthitta district. When the river breached its banks last month, these well-off people had escaped to safe places on tiny canoes and coracles. Later, when they returned to their houses after the flood waters had receded, heaps of mud had collected inside their residences.
The common kitchen was initially started by Arun, who runs a grocery shop, for the benefit of the volunteers who had arrived to remove the mud as floods receded. The garage of O Thomas Kutty served as the kitchen and V Vijayan, whose house was completely damaged in the calamity, donned the role of the chef. Several other neighbours help with cooking.
Dishes like rice, chicken, chicken biryani, fish curry, fried rice and sambar are prepared at the kitchen for this small community. Each day’s expenses are met by a householder on a rotation basis. Residents needing the food at home are supplied them at their doorsteps. Food is also served to labourers from other states who work at houses in the locality.
Thomas Kutty’s neighbours Arun, Abhilash, Somasekharan Nair, Manu, Venugopla, Vimal and Suresh are active in the kitchen and in distribution. Local panchayat member and another neighbour, Binnitt
Mathew, is also around to oversee the affairs.