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Connecting the Dots to Form a Safety Net for Northeast People During Covid Crisis

During the first lockdown, IPS officer Robin Hibu was flooded with distress calls from Northeastern people living in different parts of the country. He called up his batchmates, posted in different regions of the country, for emergency assistance. Together, they came up with the project, ‘Connecting The Dots’, to help people in need with rations, oxygen, medicines, cremations or burial facilities, and vaccines.
Indian Masterminds Stories

During the COVID-19 pandemic, police officers were stretched to the maximum, as their responsibilities had increased manifold. While going about their usual duty of maintaining law and order, they had to provide support to local hospitals and healthcare facilities, transport patients, and help to enforce quarantine and isolation measures. They also had to support vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly and the homeless, by assisting with food and shelter, and helping in the distribution of essential supplies, personal protective equipment, and vaccines.

During such unprecedented times, the 60th Foundation Course of LBSNAA officers came forward to help and support the needy Northeast people residing away from their homes, through their batch’s initiative – ‘Connecting The Dots’.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, IPS officer Robin Hibu, Special Commissioner cum ADGP of Delhi Police and a member of the Foundation Course, shared details about this initiative and how it has helped numerous people.

Robin Hibu, IPS

A CRY FOR HELP

During the Covid crisis, people from the Northeastern states were stranded without rations, oxygen, medicines and cremations or burial facilities. Mr. Hibu was flooded with SOS requests for assistance through Northeastern NGOs, Helping Hands, and from different cities all over the country.

Looking at the huge number of people reaching out for help, he called up his batchmates, posted in different regions of the country, for emergency assistance related to rations, medicines, oxygen, vaccines, and even burials and cremations.

“After listening to the stories of so many people stranded around the country with no assistance and observing their miseries, I called up my batchmates to help me, and together we came up with the project – ‘Connecting The Dots’, and all of us came together to help the ones in need,” Mr. Hibu told Indian Masterminds.

A COMBINED EFFORT

Officers from the 60th Foundation Course of LBSNAA and batchmates of Mr. Hibu readily chipped in to become the nodal officers for their states and Union Territories by adopting innovative strategies. They went out of their way to ensure timely rations, oxygen distribution, and decent burials and cremations with the help of their DMs, DCPs and SSPs.

Helping Hands had a 24/7 control room at Safdarjung Enclave, Delhi, manned by NGO volunteers who received all SOS messages from all over India with the help of their community organisations and student unions through a centralised mobile number – 9810083486 by WhatsApp or SMS, or by emails to [email protected].

“I micromanaged the process, and we reached out to distressed vulnerable hill folks by connecting our Samaritan 60th FC batchmates, who received the list of the stranded Northeastern citizens with their addresses and mobile numbers, sent by me every morning at 9 am. And by late evening around 7 pm, all recipients acknowledged back to our control room’s mobile via WhatsApp or email with photos of their rations, medicines, oxygen, and even sanitary pads for young girls, which they received from DMs and SSPs across the country,” shared the officer.

Through his initiative, the team could even assist the legendary Mary Kom in giving a proper burial to her cousin brother, whose body was, unfortunately, lying in the mortuary for days after he passed away due to Covid-19.

OXYGEN ATM

Along with this, the officer and his team also established an ‘Oxygen ATM’ using an ambulance donated by philanthropist Baldeep Singh, who even allowed his building in West Delhi to be used for the storage of oxygen and medicines for the needy Covid-infected people in Delhi NCR. They were able to collect oxygen cylinders and oxygen kits from Delhi NCR, Meerut, Agra, Rohtak, and Noida through this initiative.

Touched by the initiative and the efforts put in by everyone involved, the Minister of State for Home Affairs of India, Muthoot Group, Sunrise India, Akash Institute, NEC Corporation and many others came forward to donate rations, sanitary pads, medicines, oxygen kits, etc. 

OFFICERS INVOLVED

The officers of 60th FC LBSNAA who came forward to participate in this initiative, along with a few other IAS and IPS officers, are – IPS Vinit Wankhade, IPS Navdeep Virk, IAS Kuldeep Ranka, IPS Syed Geelani, IPS Asim Arun, IPS Rajendra Dhoke, IPS Ramachandran Rao, IPS Sushant Nath, IPS Raja Babu, IPS Ajay Kumar, IPS Piyush Mordia, IPS Amit Kumar, IAS Moses Chalai, IAS Indra Malo, IAS Hage Mamung, IAS Sanjay Lohia, IPS Soumya Mishra, IPS Shivdar Reddy, IAS Prashant Lokhande, IAS Scl Dass, IPS Omvir Bishnoi, IAS Manoj Pingua, IAS Vijay Dev, and IPS Manoj Abraham.

“With the help of this reach-out operation, we were able to assist over 1 lakh 27 thousand stranded Northeastern people during the Covid crisis. The officers involved with me did the noblest work by coming forward to help the people in need. Nothing connects like batchmates, and nothing works more seamlessly than teaming up with batchmates,” Mr. Hibu said.


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