Dimapur, July 12: It is said that crisis reveals true character and worth. And the character of the men in khakhi as revealed by the Covid-19 pandemic has left a lot desired. As Nagaland went for lockdown, lathi policing and highhandedness made troubling headlines. Yet amidst the gloom, the Nagaland Police Department will find a mention in a positive footnote when India assesses its response to the pandemic.
While the society was engaged in fiery debate over the behaviour of returnees to Nagaland, the Nagaland Police working diligently away from the spotlight had set up what is apparently the biggest quarantine facility in Northeast managed by police personnel. The 1027-bedded quarantine centre at Ganesh Nagar, which received its first batch of 509 returnees – 126 females, 383 males on June 5 last- was set up “in record time”, a high ranking officer informed Nagaland Page.
On May 20, DIG Training Aotemsu was asked to gauge the feasibility of a quarantine centre at the long-defunct Ganeshnagar Industrial Centre, an ambitious Special Economic Zone left to rot. Under the DIG and his second-in command Commandant NAPTC, Ben Lonkumer, 640 personnel including people from various departments like Electrical and PHED set to work on May 22. The huge sprawling area was divided into three sectors, and the team into subcommittees, with each sub-committee headed by an officer in the rank of deputy commandant.
“Time was not a luxury for us and the challenge was huge. Leaving aside our personal comfort we worked on a war footing. All of us,” the officer said, while informing that the facility was ready by June 4 to receive the first batch of returnees the day next.
“Managing the facility was an equally gargantuan task,” he said.
The team working tirelessly resurrected the rotting facility by clearing jungles, re-installing water lines, electricity connection, and also digging a 1.25 lakh litre pond to replenish water supply. It constructed 136 toilets and equal number of washrooms in addition to refurbishing the toilets in the already-existing flats.
The team of Nagaland police, including police doctors and nurses, was tasked with managing and conducting swab and TrueNat tests of the returnees, besides also catering, accommodation, power supply, security et al.
DGP Nagaland, T John Longkumer said that the quarantine centre will continue operating as quarantine facility for police personnel. The facility is adequately equipped to quarantine more people. “The 14 IR Battalion which will be returning from West Bengal will be quarantined at the Ganeshnagar facility,” he informed.
As for the personnel attached to the facility, testing is being conducted. About 200 personnel have already been tested and 250 in waiting.
Asked if the department is facing shortage with the number of personnel stuck at the quarantine centre, the police chief assured that as of now the department has adequate numbers. “I only hope that there is no spike in positive cases among the police personnel. We are taking all precautions.”
(Page News Service)