Bhalukpong ( Dr. Tage Neha )- when the whole world is in fear of Covid-19 pandemic and when people prefers to stay away from others, there are some women in Bhalukpong under West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh who dares to step out of their homes and serve the Covid-19 warriors… ….they ought to be caught in pictures or in record.
As the world is infested with Novel Coronavirus, and as the nation is stricken with fear of pandemic, we as frontline workers of COVID-19 have no second choice but to face and fight against the invisible enemy.
Everyday even when families are in the best hours of their soundest sleep in the morning or even if children are crying for their company we have to leave home to attend to the call of humanity, it is such a pain to walk fast the home and quietly close back the doors & gates only to march ahead for COVID-19 duty to safeguard the humanity.
Walk out of home with full of uncertainties, fears and doubts as to whom we may come in contact during the day, whether we’ll be able return home safe and sound. Only one thing is certain, that is if I come in contact with positive case then I will surely not be going back home but to quarantine centre. From there I may go home after specific period of time or may not return home for ever.
This uncertainty really haunts and it has brought insomnia to the eyes of many COVID-19 duty doers. Going out early in the morning and returning late in the night was and is the cycle of routine duty since 22nd March 2020 with the starting of country wide Janata Curfew, state lockdown followed by Lockdown India.
In the initial days, late night dinner was the only meal of the day we could be certain of. In the later phase many good people came out to serve us with tea, snacks, breakfasts and sometimes even lunch. We are so thankful to those generous people of Bhalukpong.
In context of COVID-19, Bhalukpong is such a place where we face many difficulties and challenges as it is the entry gate of three districts i.e West Kameng, Tawang and East Kameng besides many Army, Paramilitary forces, GREF personnel and staffs of other Organizations passes through this gate.
The returnees of all the three districts make transit halt of one night at Bhalukpong and thereafter they go on convoy with escorts the next day to their respective destinations. If roads are blocked due to monsoon rains or due to any other reasons they do halt here for even more days. Being bordered with neighboring Assam with porous boundary, the controlling of movements of people and goods across border is another challenging task.
And yet, inspite of so many difficulties and shortfalls, the COVID-19 Warriors of Bhalukpong are doing so well and they always look lively and energetic. The Warriors or the Frontline Workers here means Doctors, health workers, Administration, Police personnel and all the departments involved in this war against invisible enemies.
The source of their strength is the support they get from the people of Bhalukpong. The Confederation of CBOs (Community Based Organizations), NGOs, are extending supports to the Frontline Workers physically, financially and in kinds from the very day one.
They are also helping migrants and stranded labours. The Elite members of Aka the local inhabitants of Bhalukpong, Student bodies and other residents of various communities, business community etc..etc.. has also been serving refreshments to the warriors in turn wise, among them Navajyoti Royal Heritage School Bhalukpong is still serving evening tea daily.
The youth volunteers from Bhalukpong and Tippi are physically involving in this fight against Coronavirus right from the beginning till date. The man behind this successful story of Bhalukpong is none other than Kumsi Sidisow MLA 6th Thrizino-Buragaon A/C. He is the catalyst of all positivity. From the very first day he is personally monitoring and physically involving with the Frontline Workers at Bhalukpong (POE) point of entry gate. He is in continuous touch with all stakeholders.
He has been providing financial assistance to frontline workers and volunteers at regular intervals. Needless to mention that he had given financial aid to all the health centres of his constituency besides masks, hand sanitizer, rain coats and others being provided from time to time. He had prompted and campaign companies, corporations, PSUs to donate/fund the district of West Kameng in this fight against Coronavirus. This overwhelming support from various corners has been the strength of COVID-19 warriors of Bhalukpong.
Albeit such huge supports, the Frontline Workers still had problems with their fooding during day time because they can’t leave the duty to go home for lunch. Besides they can’t afford to expose to their families by frequently going home during the day. In no time Good Samaritans turned up and this problem was also mitigated as some group of women volunteered themselves to provide free lunch “Langhar” for the Frontline Workers and Volunteers.
We have been seeing these same ladies since last three months with no any changes in them except for the change of masks on their faces. Although their beautiful faces are masked but the beauty of their hearts are manifested in their deeds. They manages everything by themselves, they cooks and serves us food when we come. After hectic duties we too just walked in and take whatever they serve and walk away after just thanking them.
For those who do not know them or for those who have not seen them from close proximity may not acknowledge their service and hardship they have also been actually facing. Sometimes we use to hear them whispering how their children are doing at their homes when they are out to serve us, and how their husbands are taking care of their children the whole day long. These ladies are mostly nursing mothers.
Yes !! they have families, they have kids at their homes too. They too have pains, difficulties and fears. Yet they come to the “Langhar” at Govt ME School Lower Bhalukpong in the morning, prepares food, serves lunch to the warriors of COVID-19 and volunteers, then cleans the dishes, cleans the place and goes back home by evening. Their voluntary service has been the key instrument in keeping all the warriors active, healthy, strong and in unison. Their services and their sacrifices have made us all to forget all our worries, hardship we face and our fears for Coronavirus.
As every organization is necessarily be lead by one leader and as any movement is initiated by someone, so the catalyst of these brave and generous mother (women) volunteers is one most cool and ever smiling lady among them, she is Mrs. Margaret Hage Yaku Sidisow. She is wife of Kumsi Sidisow Hon’ble MLA 6th Thrizino-Buragaon A/C. She is down to earth, very sincere and dedicated lady who is always ready to attend to the call of humanity and gives her utmost service to the needy.
She has been with these volunteer women since last three months practically involving in preparation, cooking, serving and cleaning. Very interestingly, all the ladies in this volunteer group happened to be “Ladies of Sidisow clan” they are either Sisters or Sister-in-Laws of Sidisow.
Thank you dear most beautiful ladies of Bhalukpong, you have alleviated our fears and hungers. We have nothing to give you back and we have no words for you in return but we can only assure you the best of our efforts to fight against Coronavirus to keep you, your family and your people free from COVID-19.
The nation is on Unlocking phase, returnees are quarantined at their own expenses from 1st July 2020 and there are many relaxations in activities in new SOP. But the works and responsibilities of Frontline Workers has remained the same, in fact their responsibilities and risks will be higher as government is on relaxing mode.
And the supports and services from government to the COVID-19 warriors have apparently been phasing out but these lion hearted ladies have not given up their services and sacrifices, they are continuing to provide free lunch “Lanhgar” to the Frontline Workers and volunteers. As they are also human like anyone of us having families and their lives has also to go on, so they may also lift their service one day or other. If they withdraw their service, there will be a sea change in work outputs of Frontline Workers at this POE Bhalukpong.
COVID-19 pandemic is a disease and problem of all, everybody needs to come forward to fight it and everyone has to take care of themselves.