With people resisting the restrictions put in place, including state-wide curfew and 21-day national lockdown, to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, the farmer organisations in Punjab want the government to allow them to send volunteers from door-to-door to make masses aware about the dangers of the COVID-19. Not taking any chances, the government, however, is unlikely to grant them permission.
While the government has initiated its own door-to-door drive to sensitize people about the spread of the disease that could be deadly, the farm bodies have been writing to the government to allow them to join in.
“We have a number of volunteers who are aware about the spread of the virus. We have given them masks and sanitizers. They know about the social distancing. They will only tell the people in the villages to maintain social and safe distancing not only in the community but at home also. We have been writing to the government. But nobody seems to care,” said Darshan Singh Kokri Kalan of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan).
He said his organisation and Pendu Mazdoor Union had got in touch with all farmers organisations to send their volunteers for sensitisation.
“We have got many volunteers who have called us up. They want to work for the community. Our people in the villages do not know anything about the virus. Police cannot be everywhere to send people back inside their houses. They keep coming out. They have to be informed. The government cannot have so much of manpower to handle the situation. We can step in,” said Kokri.
He added a few of their volunteers went into tried going from door to door in villages. But the police is not allowing them, “They were sent back with a warning not to come out. We are waiting for the government to at least get back to us,” he said.
A senior official of the government told the Indian Express that they were not looking at community participation at this juncture, “They will get together in groups. This will beat the purpose. No volunteers will be allowed till the time curfew is in place.”
The organisations have now decided to help the poor and daily wagers by providing them food. “Our volunteers will go to them and provide them food,” said Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of the organisation.
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