Odisha Mountaineer Turns Vegetable-Seller, Gets Basics to Elderly

If someone comes to buy vegetables without a mask, we refuse selling to them.

My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Producer: Aastha Gulati

A national level mountaineer, who was to lead an expedition to the highest peak in April, is now selling vegetables on the streets of Bhubaneswar for a cause. After Nilachala Parida’s expedition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he thought to utilise the lockdown period to help those in need – especially the elderly.

“The Seven Summits Mountaineering Expedition was cancelled due to COVID-19. My expedition would have started from 1 April from Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Russia. Later, I was supposed to scale Mount Everest, but both were cancelled.”
Nilachala Parida

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To do his bit for the society, he has set up a makeshift shack near his house and is selling vegetables with a ‘free home delivery’ option for those who can’t visit. The mountaineer is selling vegetables not for himself but as donation to the CM and PM Cares funds.

He procures vegetables from a local mandi near his house. He has circulated his WhatsApp number in the area and is just a message away for those who wish to avail his services.

“I have got a vehicle pass from Commissionerate Police. I procure my vegetables from a local wholesale market and sell it almost at the same price.”
Nilachala Parida

Since transport cost is also involved, he doesn't make much profit. He is looking at a profit of Rs 10,000 to donate and he has been able to collect around Rs 3,000 for now.

Strict Social Distancing Maintained

For those visiting his shop, the mountaineer has clear instructions on maintaining social distance. He also makes customers use sanitizers.

“I urge people to stand within the circles at least 3 to 4 meters apart. I make them stand serially. If there are too many people in the queue, I give them my number and ask them to come an hour later, or I deliver it to their homes.”
Nilachala Parida

His makeshift kiosk has a simple ‘No Mask, No Vegetable’ rule.

“I’ve written ‘No Mask, No Vegetable’ here as it is a government rule. If someone comes to buy vegetables or goes to buy something else without a mask, we refuse selling to them because a mask is mandatory. These are government rules.”

Though Nilachala is happy to help the people in such times, he hopes the ordeal ends soon so that he can go back to to doing what he loves – mountaineering. “We are facing a lot of trouble because of the coronavirus but with some patience we shall surely overcome, he says.”

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