As several organisations come to the forefront during this period of crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, the North Bengal Stage Performers’ Association (NBSPA) was formed in April this year with the sole objective of providing relief to needy musicians, singers, dancers, magicians and other stage performers of north Bengal, especially in Siliguri and its surrounding areas.
Deep Chattopadhyay, the secretary of the association, who is a saxophone-player and also an English teacher in a government school, said, “We formed the association on 5 April this year. This association has not been registered because of the lockdown so, at present, it is a virtually created association formed for the primary purpose of providing relief to the performers in need. We have 15 to 16 members in our committee.
Musicians, singers, DJs, anchors, magicians and all other stage performers are jobless at the moment, they do not have any other source of income so we want to do something for them. We have a WhatsApp group comprising around 130 people. We also have a Facebook page where we have some 350 members. One of our members who is a reputed singer of north Bengal, Debabrata Chaki, is from Jalpaiguri.
Another member, Mahadev Das is from Alipurduar. Our aim is to unite all the singers, musicians and such performers across north Bengal but at this point of time we simply want to provide relief to them.” Mr Chattopadhyay added that they would request the state as well as the central governments to provide them with some financial aid and also some relief items in terms of food.
“We have requested many individuals for donations. One of my classmates Rashmi Pandey, now residing in USA and Shravan Chaudhary from Lions club also made some huge donations. As musicians and performers we have been entertaining people since time immemorial and at this point of time we want the society to stand by us.
We have generated some 70,000-75,000 within a month from our well-wishers and other acquaintances. Uttar Bango Poush Mela Committee has given us 12 bags of rice. Trinamul Congress leader Ranjan Sarkar provided us with 25 bags of rice and 50 kg of potato,” he said.
Ramakrishna Mission relief:
The Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama in Jalpaiguri has also been providing relief to needy persons in different areas, including the tea belt in Jalpaiguri. It started the relief work on 6 April and has been working with slum dwellers in Jalpaiguri town as well as in different village areas including tea-gardens of Jalpjaiguri, Cooch Behar and Darjeeling districts, according to the Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, Jalpaiguri, Swami Shivapremananda.
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama has so far served 2,214 families in the form of dry ration kits consisting of rice, potato, pulses, mustard oil, salt, soybean, tomato, cereals, biscuits, tea leaves, squash, soap, and masks. “After a preliminary survey, we have distributed the relief materials among the poor and distressed people, daily labourers, sex workers and others. The total number of beneficiaries was 9217,” Swami Shivapremananda said.