Ramu Dosapati, who spent over Rs 50 lakh to feed the poor

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Ramu Dosapati

The year 2020 has shown us how a countrywide lockdown can affect the economy of the nation but more than that- its people. During the lockdown, an estimated 140 million people lost employment while salaries were cut for many others. More than 45% of households across the country recorded income drop. Many were left homeless. The lockdown impact was far more brutal for the vulnerable section of our society which includes daily wage workers and migrants.

Yet despite the pandemic, several people came forward and lend their hands for help. One such Covid warrior was Ramu Dosapati who spent over 50 lakhs from his own pocket to set a Rice ATM, a noble attempt to feed the poor.

Ramu Dosapati got the idea to set up a Rice ATM after a chance encounter with the wife of a watchman.

Ramu Dosapati first got the idea to set a rice ATM on his son’s birthday. On that day, while waiting for his order in front of a chicken shop, she met the wife of a watchman who came to buy 20 kg chicken worth 2000. Upon asking her the occasion, he got to know that the old lady was buying chicken to feed the stranded migrant workers from Odisha who lost their jobs during the lockdown and were unable to feed their families.

Her name was Laxmamma who earned a meager salary of Rs 6,000. She was willing to spend a quarter of her salary to feed the poor. Ramu realized that he earns a fairly good salary and his family is in comfort and thus there was nothing to stop him from helping the needy. He approached the nearby grocery shop and with the help of the watchman at his apartment, Ramu set up a Rice ATM that works 24 hours.

Ramu Dosapati

But financing the growing demand was harder than expected. Dosapati worked as an HR executive in the same company for the last 16 years, thus he was able to use his 5 lakhs provident fund to continue his initiative. In the beginning, only 193 people approached him, but soon the demand rose and more and more people started approaching him for help.

Within a month, the number of people rose rapidly and so Dosapati decided to sell his land in Nalgonda for Rs. 40 lakhs which he saved as an investment for a 3 bedroom flat in the neighboring building. It was a tough decision but seeing hundreds of people waiting for food, motivated the family to do so. He gave up all the money he saved for his dream house to feed those who have lost their jobs during the lockdown.  

On some days, Ramu Dosapati says that almost 300 to 350 people wait in front of the Rice ATM. Every day over 120 people benefit from his initiative. Around 25,000 people have benefitted so far from his initiative since April 2020. The ATM  provides a 24 hours supply of ration to underprivileged families. The Rice ATM also provides medicines and milk to the people.

 “I want to help people who are in genuine need. I am screening the beneficiaries and motivating them to find their way into securing a job. I won’t be able to do this forever, but those who are in need should not sleep on an empty stomach,” Ramu Dosapati says in an interview with The Indian Express.

Ramu Dosapati spent Rs. 52 lakhs from his own pocket to fund the Rice ATM. It’s been over a year since Dosapati has been running this initiative, and for now, there’s nothing that could stop him. 

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