The nights are sleepless and the work is endless. In this challenging situation, Kolkata Police and their teams are persistently pushing their confines and going an extra mile to give protection to several families who have lost everything during cyclone Amphan which hit West Bengal on 20th May. The cyclone has wiped out houses and washed away lands and simultaneously left many families in more poverty. The Sergeants’ Institute in Kolkata have been monumentally straining themselves day and night in order to dispense all necessary material to people in distress.
The cyclone has already pauperized a wide swath of the Sunderbans and has damaged a lot of properties there.
However, Kolkata Police in association with the Calcutta Police Sergeants’ Institute has generously come forward to lend assistance to the helpless and to provide them with whatever best that is possible.
West Bengal had witnessed destructive storms earlier during the times of cyclones Bulbul and Aila, but this storm crossed all boundaries and swiped away more than half the population, causing a hefty loss to the state. At a time when the state reeling under the coronavirus pandemic, another major cyclonic storm hit West Bengal and left many without homes, electricity and water supply. In an attempt to help and support villagers of Sunderbans, Sergeants’ and Police teams are giving out relief materials to help people in need.
Sovan Banerjee, AC HQ (Calcutta Police Sergeants’ Institute) says, “We have been working day and night since the day the first lockdown had been declared and our distribution of supplies started from 23rd March and continued till 30th May to assist people during the pandemic. We would distribute food for elderly people as well as milk and biscuits for the kids. The process started during the COVID-19 pandemic and now after cyclone Amphan hit, we are continuing our services. On 5th of June, we visited Kakdwip and places like Hingalganj and we have plans of visiting other places as well, especially those areas which are inaccessible and difficult to reach.”
Banerjee further adds, “We have been asking people who are members of the Sergeants’ Institute to make donations as per their needs and this time we are doing the same. We have curated specialized family kits which contain potatoes, rice, wheat, torch, 2 sarees and shoes which are good enough for anyone to help them survive for a week and even more than that. Our medical teams are providing medical supplies like medicines, ORS, Sanitary napkins for women and many other things.”
The officer explains how his team reaches the remote locations in the Sunderbans. “5-10 team members are visiting the remote areas of Sunderbans with all possible support. Our primary focus is to ensure that we can help as many people as possible”. Lastly, he also adds that “The government is doing all that they can, but looking at the intensity of the damage, it can be said that it is not possible to help so many people at a mass scale. Therefore, we have come forward to do our bit so that we can give them some relief during this crisis”.
Small initiatives by Police personnel help in reassuring the habitants in the Sunderbans who are uncertain about their future. The mangrove forests might have seen storms and cyclones in the past, but cyclone Amphan was a nightmare many will never forget. Hope is what will keep them afloat and the Calcutta Police Sergeants’ are doing their bit to help habitants keep the faith.
Photographer : Mainak Bagchi