Too Close Yet So Far

Bibhubanta Barad . May 11, 2020

Date: May 02, 2020

“Maain pehle bahut gussa tha, dar bhi lag raha tha, pata nahi kya hoga centre me mere saath
Par jab centre pahucha to gaon ki didiyon ne mera swagat kiya, Mujhe ye apnanpan dekh bahut achcha laga”

Railal Gope, a migrant, shared his thoughts with PRADAN’s team. For the past six days, Gope has been staying in the quarantine centre. He spends most of his day watching television and playing cards. At first, he seemed reluctant but now he has accepted the reality. However, his eyes narrate a different story about the uncertain future!

Gope, who used to work as a construction laborer, was left with no job after the coronavirus pandemic following the nation-wide lockdown. With some cash in hand, he along with other workers managed to survive a few days. With the exacerbated situation, he decided to leave for home on his cycle, to his parents and children, from Kolkata to Gumla district in Jharkhand and started his journey with three other migrant workers.

After pedaling for almost 500 km, he reached his hometown, Gumla. Even after the long and harrowing journey without food and water, his heart longed for nothing but to see his family living in Kemte Village, Gumla. But, Fate played a cruel trick on him! Just some stones away from his village, Gope was stopped in Raidih block and asked to stay in the quarantine centre for another 14 days as per the Government orders.

At its most terrifying, his story sends shivers down the spine. Comprehending the ground reality was very difficult for Gope. He was inconsolable and started crying like a child. He was just a few km away from his home but these few kms were more stretched-out than the one he had already covered. His anger and rage were justified but in this dire situation, nothing could be done. PRADAN’s team tried their best to lessen the agony of Gope and other migrants like him and make the stay in the quarantine centre as comfortable as possible.

PRADAN’s team along with the women federation is providing all the necessary support to the district administration during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the supports that have been extended is to take care of three quarantine centres in Ghagra, Gumla, and Raidih block.

In Raidih, where Gope is staying, a high school has been temporarily converted into a quarantine centre. With support from the funds from APPI, the quarantine has been provided with facilities like television, clean beds, soaps, towels, and other necessary toiletries for each of the residents.

The Raidih women federation has deployed people in the centre to monitor the sanitary standards with regular cleaning of the premise – rooms, toilets, and bathrooms. Each quarantine centre has a kitchen with a cook and a helper that provides for freshly cooked meals, tea, and biscuits. Health workers are deployed at the centres to check for the COVID-19 symptoms and provide for other necessary medical needs.

Team: PRADAN Gumla, Jharkhand

Bibhubanta Prasad

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