This ‘task force’ of volunteers lends helping hand to people & animals

Dressed in yellow jackets, masks and hand gloves, they are hard to miss as they zip through the deserted roads and lanes during lockdown period. From food and medicine distribution to rescuing animals including snakes, they are prepared and willing to do it all. They are members of Jaipur’s civil defence team which works in close tandem with the local authorities under the leadership of district collector. Over 500 such individuals, divided into 10 divisions of Jaipur city, are working round-the-clock to provide relief and help. There are 500 more members working in the district. Deputy warden of 10th division (Jaipur) Sahil Singhal is coordinating with NGOs or civil society for cooked food and ration kits. “Hundreds of people and groups are willing to do something for the underprivileged during this time. All we do is provide them with vital information that how, what and where they can help,” said Singhal. Singhal, who owns a farm which supplies oxygen tanks to hospitals, is out every day from 9am to 7pm on the roads, working with a team of 30 volunteers. “Till 3pm today, we have handled two medical emergencies and coordinated with the municipal staff to catch a stray buffalo in Malaviya Nagar,” said R D Pareek, head of the 10thdivisional team. “It is local administration which sends us on calls as per the complaints or requests received on helpline numbers. We pass them to the teams of respective areas,” said Pareek. The membership doesn’t come easy. Every member has
to fulfil some eligibility criteria first and foremost is a commitment of at least six hours work in a day during any emergency-like situation. They are prevented from running any campaign on their own. They follow certain rules like they don’t click pictures while distributing food in order to guard the identity of donation seeker. Their helping hand is not only extended to humans but they also work for animals. Some members of the civil defence are trained in handling emergencies related to the animals. “The latest mandate we follow is carried fodder and biscuits our vehicles to feed cows and dogs. Reports of them dying out of hunger has started coming from different parts of the city,” said Singhal, who ensures to maintain a distance with his parents once he reaches home. Acknowledging the hard work of civil defence team, Jaipur collector Joga Ram said, “They are actually the backbone of all relief work being done in the city. Unexpectedly, they a contributing to the distribution of food and have ensured that nobody should sleep hungry. they have also shown excellence in other area areas of relief work by providing all possible help to the civilians.”