On war-footing: 24-hr shifts for these soldiers

For once a war is being fought to save lives. The 24-hour war room set up by the district administration is a reflection of the hours the officers and their foot soldiers put in to ensure that the lockdown is total and also that people don’t get inconvenienced. The commander of the operations is district collector Joga Ram. “There are no working hours. 24 hours are working hours for us now,” he said laughing as he managed to find little time to grab some lunch at 4:45 pm. The 24-hour war room (0141-2204475 and 01412204476), believed to be the backbone of all operations at the district collectorate, has been divided into three shifts of eight hours each. About 16 officials from various departments, including health, nagar nigam, food and civil supplies, electricity and animal husbandry are deputed in this war room for speedy redressal of complaints by people. Three officers – Om Prabha, Vishnu Goyal and Rajesh Dogiwal – manage the war room in these shifts. “On an average, the war room receives 120-150 calls per day on complaints related to food and ration and around 50-60 each day on queries pertaining to medical emergencies/requirements, ambulance, vehicle passes and other queries. These days we return home by 1or 2 in the night. But, we are trying to give our best. Amid lockdown, it is our (administration) responsibility to ensure that poor gets food, shelter and dry ration,” said Ashok Kumar (ADM-IV), who is also incharge of the war room. Over 2.10 lakh cooked food packets and dry ration packets are distributed to the poor, migrant workers and the needy on a daily basis with the help from 1189 civil defence personnel, municipality officials, BLOs, revenue department officials and various other organizations. “Each thana has been divided into administrative units for monitoring of works. To ensure that there is no shortage of essentials items in the market, we have set up two dedicated control rooms for food and civil supplies. Second, every police station has a food point each. People can go there as well,” said Joga Ram. Iqbal Khan (ADM-I) said, “The phone calls start around 6 am to ensure that milk supplies are not disrupted and the day continues till midnight. We receive calls even after reaching home. So far, we have procured around 90,000 packets of dry ration. We will distribute those in the next few days. Also, anybody can call the control room anytime to register his/ her complaint and we will ensure the person gets food and grievances redressed.” Among the few other key officials who have been given important roles are Puroshattam Sharma, Bharti Dixit, Vijaypal Singh, Abha Jain, Birbal Singh, Shankar Saini, Rajendra Kavia, Pratibha Pareek and Mukesh Meena apart from a pool of hundreds of other officers.