‘Happy Onam’ is not being said with the usual enthusiasm and happiness this year, and is instead being taken with a pinch of salt. Kerala, which is on its way to recovery after suffering heavy losses after being hit by the worst flood it has seen in over a century, has decided to have a grim Onam this year. Markets that would usually hustle and bustle with people shopping for the festivals are suffering heavy losses this year.
The worst hit market is Chalai market in Thiruvananthapuram, which is popular for its flower sellers. After being hit by a flood of such a large magnitude, and loss of hundreds of lives and homes, Keralites are naturally not in a mood to celebrate and are instead busy with contributing towards flood relief. IT industry especially has come forward to help those in need.
The items apart from food that those displaced by floods need, and IT companies are increasingly contributing are warm clothes, cerelac and medicines for children; clothes, innerwear and sanitary napkins for women; shirts and lungis for men; and umbrella, raincoats and blankets, said an industry insider contributing towards the flood victims. This list was provided after speaking with flood victims and asking for their requirements.
While Paytm, Amazon, and telecom companies continue to contribute towards Kerala with relief funds, several other technology majors have set a foot forward to help rebuild Kerala this Onam. One of the latest technology giants to join this list is Apple. Those visiting App Store and iTunes are now being welcomed by banners asking for donations to help flood victims in Kerala. One can make donations in the option of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200, which will be sent to Mercy Corps, a group that is aiding in flood relief.
Xiaomi too wants to contribute towards Kerala in their own manner. All Xiaomi users in Kerala will receive heavy discounts on spare parts and no labour charges will be levied. 27 service centres will be open for MI users in Kerala. The services have currently been announced till 31 August.
Apart from Xiaomi, global software major Infosys Foundation has rushed relief material to Kerala and also Karnataka’s flood hit area Kodagu. Four truckloads of relief material including items like clothes, rice, drinking water, and medicines were sent to Thiruvananthapuram and other areas in need in Kerala. A video of Infosys Chairperson Sudha Murthy personally packing and monitoring flood relief items went viral on social media. “Kerala flood relief packing personally supervised by Sudha Moorthy on behalf of Infosys. Humanity in action ! Being one of the largest stakeholders in Kerala we in RPG have contributed our bit. I would urge all of you to be generous,” said Harsh Goenka, Chairpman of RPG Enterprises on Twitter.
BSNL, which had previously announced free data and calls for flood hit areas in Kerala, has now launched a new tariff plan marking the festival of Onam. The prepaid plan priced at Rs 44 has Rs 20 talk value and 500MB of data. Full talk time is being offered on top up values of Rs 110, Rs 200, Rs 500 and Rs 1000.
Also, K7 Computing, a company that deals with anti-virus software and internet security solutions, has pledged to contribute 100 percent of its online sales that took place between August 22 and 23 towards The Hindu’s ‘Help us Help Kerala’ Initiative.