Fighting Covid19 in Tawang
- Pallavi Priya
- Published on 6 Nov 2020, 4:27 pm IST
- 3 minutes read
When coronavirus hit Tawang district, one of the most picturesque places in the North-East, the district administration fought back with all its might. Through village commitees, apps and the local National Informatics Centre (NIC), District Collector Sang Phuntsok ensured that peopes’ suffering remained very low and tolerable.
- Mr. Sang Phuntsok (in middle) with senior officers from the district hospitals (Courtesy : Twitter)
This has been a difficult year for the whole world due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The picturesque Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh is no exception. When India went into lockdown, it was just the start of tourism season in the district. Due to the lockdown, it was hit badly. At the same time, Tawang also started facing issues such as lack of proper health facility. Even reaching out to the people became a challenge.
However, under the leadership of District Collector Mr Sang Phuntsok the district not only came out of the economic crisis but also alleviated the suffering of the people.
Handling the Returnees
Talking to Indian Masterminds, Mr. Phuntsok says, “to deal with COVID-19 Pandemic the entire administrative machinery had to be geared-up. We started working in close coordination with health officials and police personnel.”
Tawang is filled with majestic mountains, lakes and natural scenery. On the one hand, its vistas are treat to the eyes but at the same time it’s a difficult place to live in. Pandemic doubled the peoples’ difficulties. Besides providing basic necessities to the public, the main challenge was to quarantine all the returnees to the district. Around 1004 student and 1786 other professionals and workers lived outside the district. When the pandemic was announced, they all started to come back.
Recalled Mr Phuntsok: “There was no testing facility available in Tawang. So all of the returnees had to be quarantined for 14 days, first in quarantine facilities of the district and thereafter in 14 days of home quarantine. To ensure this, village-wise committees were constituted. After the receipt of testing kits for Covid 19, all the samples of returnees were collected and were sent to Guwahati, and later to Tezpur. ”,
Using an App to Monitor Peoples’ Movements
The District Administration of Tawang also developed and launched an app to monitor the people entering Tawang. The online registration of person entering Tawang was done through this app. This enabled the officials to have direct information about the people coming from outside the district. “In order to strictly monitor the people entering Tawang, the check-gate at Jang was strengthened; along with the Police Personnel, the Health Department officials were also deployed for checking each and every person entering Tawang. The details were uploaded in the App, but we realised that due to network problem it was not possible do it all time. To come over it, we started doing it in an off-line mode, and the app started working smoothly.’’
At the same time, the district ddministration also took a meeting with all the NGOs and monasteries, and they all agreed to deliver essential commodities to people door-to-door, without any extra charges.
NIC was a Big Help
Situated at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet, Tawang often faces lots of communication and transport problem. But the district administration, perhaps due to the consistent nature of such issues, is more or less always prepared to tackle any eventuality. A National Informatics Centre (NIC) is already in existence in Tawang to help students and youth in filling up online application forms for higher studies and for applying for jobs online. During COVID -19 pandemic, the district administration was able to connect with people through Google Meet and Webex, through the technical support provided by NIC, Tawang.
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