Guwahati:The 'Cycling Community' of Guwahati, that got started a couple ago to protect the environment and save fuel, is now the " Relief riders" of Guwahati to help people in need.
The 'Relief Riders' mission was launched two weeks ago with an aim to serve Covid patients, ailing people, senior citizens and those in distress with essential items, including food and medicines.
Riding in their bicycles, the members of the cycling community deliver prepared food, medicines, vegetables, fruits, groceries and other essential items to those in need without charging anything for delivery.
"Through online mode or by making cash payments, the beneficiaries are paying for their required items and our volunteers are delivering the essentials at the doorsteps of the people or at the Covid Care Centres," said Arshel Akhter, who is one of the pioneers of the Relief mission to the IANS.
The volunteers - aged between 22 and 59 years deliver the essential items within a radius of 3 km from their respective homes, and follow all the Covid protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) during non-curfew hours.
According to Akhter, who was named 'Bicycle Mayor', an honourary position conferred by the Amsterdam-based social enterprise BYCS, the Relief Riders mission currently has 16 volunteers in different parts of Guwahati and the numbers are increasing since the mission was launched on May 17.
He said the Relief Riders mission was started in Guwahati following the footsteps of Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and a few other cities, where the cycling community got together to help the people in need.
Bikash Doley, an entrepreneur and a volunteer for the Relief Riders mission, said that the Bengaluru team had guided them to devise a simplified process to operate the entire scheme.
"We have a few helpline numbers where people can call to place their orders. Once we get the orders, we post them in our internal group alerting the rider staying nearest to the beneficiary."
"We try to keep all transactions contact less by encouraging digital modes of payment. We also follow social distancing measures, personal hygiene and wearing of masks etc.," Doley said.
Another volunteer, Siddharth Bhattaroy, said that they are also saving fuel, protecting the environment and preventing carbon dioxide emissions by using bicycles, which can also pass though narrow lanes and by-lanes with ease.
Cycling enthusiast Ripunjoy Gogoi said that if a medicine or some essential good is not available near the requester's place, the group forms a relay team to deliver the item to the concerned citizen.
The senior most Relief Rider member, Gautam Choudhury, said that the volunteers' strength is growing daily and they expect more people to join their mission to reach out to more needy people.