For most of the Indian community in Sydney, Harris Park has emerged over the years as an extremely popular location to visit whether it is a weekday or weekend. With over 90 businesses mainly restaurants and spice centres, the three streets of Harris Park namely Wigram Street, Station Street and Marion Street have been terribly busy catering to thousands of customers day and night. Such a popularity of Harris park has earned it a nickname “The Little India” of Sydney.
However, this was the story till the outbreak of the pandemic Corona virus called Covid- 19 in March. The impact on many businesses in Harris Park was unimaginable with many closings down the businesses. Many resorted to various service models just to survive the crisis. The worst affected in this crisis were the International students as both their studies and living standards were getting compromised.
Mr Gurmeet Tuli of Tuli Jewellers and President of Little India Australia were assisting the Indian and other International students from Day 1 of the Covid 19 impact in Harris Park assisting them with food packets while following the NSW Government guidelines.
However, from 1 July, the businesses are limping back to normal very slowly due to the relaxation of rules by NSW Government which has been managing the Covid 19 crisis effectively. But this has not changed the support measures being extended by Little India.
In recognition of its efforts NSW Government through Multicultural NSW has provided a grant of $5000 to Little India Australia as a token support for its Helpline. The Little India Helpline was formally launched by Dr. Geoff Lee MP, Minister for Skills and Higher education, NSW Government on Wednesday 1 July in Harris Park. Dr Lee said over 220, 000 jobs were lost.
“It was a major impact and tough period for International students and temp visa holders. This is the least we can do from NSW Government to assist through many community organisations. We have also allocated $20Million for student accommodation for affected and eligible international students. In launching this Helpline, I congratulate the initiative of Little India” stated Dr. Geoff Lee
Congratulating Little India Dr. Harinath of Multicultural NSW said “we cannot bring back the quality of life lost. Saving of life is important in this hour. Fantastic effort. We need to do look after each other mutually “
Acknowledging the NSW Government support to Little India, its President Mr Gurmeet Tuli said’ Our Helpline is to facilitate the dissemination of information on Health, Safety, security and well being for people need and vulnerable in the community. We will provide food, travel assistance, interpretation and translation, General counselling assistance regarding domestic violence. We will maintain customer data base. Regular checks will be monitored for the safety of vulnerable people” The Indian Telegraph congratulates the efforts of Little India in establishing a Helpline for the needy.