Corona-virus has come as a rude shocker to the world. The world is facing one of the biggest crisis in the history of mankind. The entire globe has virtually come to a standstill still the threat of Corona-virus is looming large!
Around 2 million people have been infected with this deadly disease, with USA emerging as the biggest hotspot. More than 1 lakh people across the world have lost their lives and the economic loss has been unimaginable and unparalleled.
India and Punjab Scenario:
As per latest stats, the Corona-virus pandemic has claimed at least 448 lives by April 15th, with number of confirmed cases rising to 13,430. The state of Maharastra is the worst affected region in the country with 3000+ positive cases and around 200 deaths. In Punjab state, around 200 cases have been reported so far, with pandemic claiming 14 deaths.
DGP Honor and Disc for Exemplary Sewa to Society:
During the pandemic – doctors, policemen and sanitation workers – are leading the fight against the deadly disease from the front. Police has been instrumental in enforcing lockdown/ curfew and are often going beyond the call of duty to serve the public. The various humanitarian activities include disbursement of food with voluntary contribution from public and policemen, feeding stray animals, taking immediate emergency needs of destitute and what not. Even, Punjab policemen have helped a lady during childbirth, by arranging for the requisite facilities at odd hours of the night.
Keeping this in view, the Honorable CM of Punjab has instituted a special award to honor policemen going beyond their call of duty. It’s a recognition of untiring efforts of over 45,000 policemen who are working day and night, to ensure that “no person sleeps hungry in Punjab”.
How IPS Vatsala Gupta Bagged the Prestigious Honor?
Nominations were sent by Commissioner of Police and SSPs, for the award. Honorable, DGP Punjab subsequently selected 25 Punjab police officers, across districts for the coveted honor for their excellent services.
The awardees included 4 SPs, 1 ASP, 1 DSP, 6 Inspectors, 4 Sub-Inspectors, 3 ASIs, 2 Head Constables and 4 Constables. Ms. Vatsala Gupta, ASP Nakodar, who had left no stone un-turned to reach out to poor and underprivileged slum dwellers of Nakodar town, has too bagged the coveted disc!
The Insider Story:
Punjab was one of the first state to impose lockdown on 21st March, 2020. Given the precarious global scenario and exponential rise in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, Ms. Vatsala Gupta anticipated the lockdown to continue till 1st week of April. She started to receive several distress hunger calls as Nakodar has 1500+ migrant workers and almost 500 slum dwellers.
Initially, there was no institutional mechanism to cater to the needs these have nots. Therefore, she along with the SHO, Mr Aman Saini conducted meetings with economically well off people in and around the town, and persuaded them to donate dry ration like wheat flour, rice, mustard, oil, pulses, milk powder, sugar etc.
Since, COVID-19 spreads through close contact, and is easily transferable from one person to another, Ms. Vatsala decided to carry out the task of distribution of ration herself along with her team members. This ensured that proper precautions like masks & gloves and social distancing were rigidly enforced to contain the disease.
Her team comprised of Inspector Aman Saini, ASI Haripal, ASI Sukhwant singh, HC Davinder Singh, Constable Amrit, Harpreet, Paramjit and Arjinder Pal Singh. On day 1, food were distributed to 300+ households. As of today, 1500 packets of dry ration are being distributed every 2nd day.
India's police force is among the most understaffed in the world. There are only 144 police officers for every 100,000 citizens, making India’s police force one of the weakest in the world. India’s police-to-population ratio lags behind most countries and the United Nations-recommended ratio of 222.
However, despite the constraints, Nakodar police led by IPS Vatsala Gupta not only efficiently enforced the curfew but also went that extra mile to help the needy. She continues to toil hard to meet the basic needs of downtrodden populace of Nakodar town.
*(Ms. Vatsala Gupta is an IPS Officer of 2016 batch, currently posted as ASP, Nakodar)