HAILAKANDI, April 18 - In response to the Prime Minister�s clarion call to reach out to senior citizens during the lockdown period, the District Information and Public Relations Office (DIPRO) here has started establishing contacts to inquire about their health and well-being.
DIPRO, Sabir Nishat and his staff are on the job for the past several days in making calls and visiting the residences of some ailing elderly citizens of the district.
Nishat said following the appeal by the Prime Minister as well as Media Adviser to CM, Assam, Hrishikesh Goswami, exercise is on to inquire about the health condition of senior citizens and their well-being and to get first-hand information about the problems they are facing during the lockdown period.
�The elderly citizens are elated that we have inquired about their well-being and also made an effort to reach out to them during the unprecedented times due to countrywide lockdown,� said Nishat.
While some senior citizens have expressed their happiness for being inquired about their well-being, others have narrated about the problems they are facing such as lack of ration and medicines and the need for treatment.
There are some who are outraged that the lockdown has not made provisions for the elderly who are living alone. �What will happen to persons like us who cannot step out to buy essential goods and also those who can leave their homes but are not able to buy medicines since there are no autos or cabs due to the prolonged lockdown?� asked an agitated octogenarian.
�Grocery deliveries, well-being checks and other services for senior citizens staying at home must be ensured to avoid the coronavirus pandemic,� said another senior citizen, adding, �The government can expand its range of services so that it helps seniors to overcome the coronavirus crisis. Those services may include delivery of groceries and household items; transportation to the doctor or pharmacist; meals on wheels for those who qualify under relaxed guidelines and counselling for seniors who are worried about their symptoms or just worried about what�s happening.�
�The anger is not misplaced. In some ways, the whole world is united in the fight against Covid-19. But the reality is that some are more vulnerable to infection than others. And senior citizens would easily top that list,� said an official on the condition of anonymity.
To ease the burden of lockdown on senior citizens, Superintendent of Police, Pabindra Kumar Nath, in response to the impassioned plea of DIPRO, acted swiftly by reaching out to them in their hour of distress.
�To help such people and to ease the burden of the lockdown to some extent, the district police has stepped in to ensure that basic necessities like food reaches the homes of the elderly directly,� said Nath.
Nath further revealed that police personnel would also be engaged to look after the well-being of senior citizens.
�As a first step towards this, the local police will take the responsibility for the health and welfare of the senior citizens in their jurisdiction. Police officials and personnel engaged would be given directions to this effect to make home delivery of provisions and if possible, medicines to senior citizens during the lockdown,� added Nath.
Nishat said, �Senior citizens will get the much-needed relief if home delivery of fruits, vegetables and other essential items are ensured. Community kitchen can also be set up to prepare food and deliver it to the homes of the needy. These measures will, in some way, come to the aid of the elderly during the lockdown.�
Another citizen in his mid-60s said, �A more permanent and sustainable policy is required to take care of the elderly, who are most vulnerable to a crisis of this magnitude.�
Under the Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens Act, every police station is supposed to have a nodal officer to deal with senior citizens while every district has to have a special police unit for this purpose.
�It is time to implement this strictly. Otherwise, senior citizens will continue to bear the brunt,� said another elderly person.