On 3 June, 2020, my family members were en route to PTC from Dibrugarh. At the entry point, I could practically feel the way they were treated – no one communicates with anyone. There was complete silence. The moment you enter PTC, Banderdewa, you can feel that you are being seen as an alien or someone unknown. My family and many others had to wait for their chance to go for medical examination.
They had to wait for about five long hours to get their swab collected. There was another three hours to wait for the approval of the proposed paid quarantine facility by the authority concerned, and another two hours to reach Itanagar by the district administration-deployed vehicle. They were later being dropped at the highway from where the designated PQ hotel was about 800 metres away. The returnees are facing immense miseries and hardships to come back home and then to enter their own motherland.
At this juncture, it is million-dollar question if our community can gear up some ‘group of volunteers’ to ensure seamless process of receiving the returnees, get them done with the swab collection by the medical team and then send them to the designated paid quarantine by the deployed vehicles of the district administration.
There is a call for better coordination in the process as most probably very less people or employees are ready to be deployed for Covid-19 duty at PTC.
The following process is taking at least 8-10 hours (probably days in not getting approval of PQ due to unavailability of rooms) depending on the choice of paid quarantine due to lack of volunteers:
1. Registration of returnees.
2. Swab collection.
3. Sending them to paid quarantine.
4. The charges of PQ.
There is a strong feeling that the present system is finding it tough to function in the said process, most probably due to lack of sufficient workers in the field.
Therefore, it is an ardent appeal that the state government may recruit a dedicated team of young volunteers as a Covid-19 task force. They can be recruited for a short period initially and paid well, along with food and stay with insurance coverage of free treatment in case they get infected during duty.
This will provide ground field frontline worker provision support to the state government and short-term employment opportunity to the youths and volunteers.
I believe many had registered for volunteering during the Covid-19 first and second lockdown. There was a central government site for it, but experience say that there have been no intimation from either the central or the state government in this regard.
Dept of Sociology,
Rajiv Gandhi University