Hyderabad: A Vietnamese businessman Hoang Tuan Anh made global headlines when he developed a ‘rice-dispensing’ machine to support those who had lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Miles afar, Hyderabad man Ramu Dosapati is no different, for 150 straight days he has been feeding the hungry through his ‘Rice ATM’ set up at LB nagar located in the eastern corridor of the city. This is not a dispensing machine but it is surely serving the purpose.

A parapet, bags of groceries and a black board constitutes Dosapati’s ‘rice-ATM. Known for his various social initiatives the human resource professional, has spent 23 lakhs so far which includes his life-time savings to feed the hungry.‘No one should sleep hungry’ is his motto.

But what triggered this is more fascinating, In April when the lockdown 1 one was Ramu Dosapati came across a poor watchwoman spending her meager Rs 6000 salary to buy food for hungry migrant workers, he could not hold back his emotions and broke down at LB Nagar.

Lakshamma’s gesture moved Dosapati to the extent that he decided to pool in his resources to feed hungry migrant workers on the streets of Hyderabad. One hundred fifty days on, the mission to feed the poor has become a movement.

Every day he places dry ration kits on a table near a grocery store at LB Nagar. A blackboard mentioning the details and contact numbers acts as a helpline desk. The kit comprise of rice, atta, oil, yellow dal, sugar, tea, chili, turmeric powder, and tamarind.

Any poor can walk in and take the kits from the table to feed his family. Dosapati has spent Rs 23 lakhs from his pocket to help the poor and needy.

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“I was moved by Lakshmamma’s gesture. She gave from the little she had. When I moved around, I found hungry construction workers, pregnant women, and children. I was moved into tears. I withdrew my provident fund and established `Rice ATM’ below my apartment, adjacent to a general store. Every morning, bags are placed next to the board and refilled when required. I have tied up with a grocery store that keeps an eye during the day. My watchman keeps tab in the night,” said Dosapati.

The ATM primarily caters to senior citizens, migrant workers, and the jobless. The grocery bags have been classified based on the requirement.

Dosapati provides a one-month dry ration to senior citizens and allows them to come back the next month. “Five days dry rations are provided to migrant workers with an idea to encourage them to find work. Initially, 100 to 150 people used to pick up dry ration every day. After restrictions were eased, the rush has dropped to 30 to 40 people per day” he said.

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The initiative has become so popular that people are now coming forward offering financial help to Dosapati so that Rice ATM remains open. “Many have now come forward to extend financial help to keep the Rice ATM initiative alive,” he said.

Born in the Nalgonda district of Telangana, Dosapati moved to Hyderabad to pursue his education. “Two years after my wedding in 2006, I met with an accident. I was reborn on that day. I intend to use the rest of my life to serve people,” he said.

Dospati has always been at the forefront of helping people. From the blood donation campaign to the Tiffin box challenge and exchange plastic with sapling initiative, he has been associated with different social causes.

But the COVID lockdown threw many challenges which he surmounted by his perseverance and dedication. “No one should sleep hungry is our motto,” he said.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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