Kolkata Police’s Welfare Cell has been on a mission to stand by its own personnel who eventually got infected with Coronavirus while working tirelessly to make a difference in these trying times. The initiative has brought smiles to not only those belonging to the force but also their families who have found ready assistance regarding the treatment of their near and dear ones; and a nook to share their tears and cries
“Courage above all things is the first quality of a Warrior.”
— Karl Von Clausewitz
With our global village still burning red with the pandemic in full sway, Kolkata has witnessed and is experiencing an uneven war being fought against the virus, only armed with nothing but undying courage led by medical/paramedical professionals, civil servants and last but not the least hundreds of silent warriors in the form of those donning the white uniform. Combating from all ends, the Kolkata Police officers have had a huge role to play towards the state’s successful control of Covid-19.
The Kolkata Police’s Welfare Cell has come as a saviour by creating, coordinating, communicating and helping out affected patients, health and civic workers who have been away from their families for weeks, providing priority services and amenities 24×7. It’s a story unheard of and it’s a tale of triumph and tribulation.
Ideation and inspiration:
In the words of OC Jayanta Mukhopadhyay, in-charge of the Welfare Cell’s administration: “It all started with the initiative of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Commissioner of Kolkata Police Anuj Sharma since the outbreak of Covid in March this year. We felt the need as many of our personnel working in the field got affected, but with no aid and assistance to take care of the entire treatment process. So, there evolved the urgency of this Welfare Cell to look after the admission of the affected, administering and supervising the mediclaim policies and finally taking care of their release and also being the mediator with the medical officers of the force. Under the complete supervision of the CP himself, the Welfare Cell was formed to provide holistic support during such a trying time. Along with this, the families of the personnel have been taken care of, especially those who have been affected. The Welfare Cell also extended it’s helping hand to our retired officers. Coordinating with the ‘Retired IPS officers’ Association’, we provided as much as we could regarding medical amenities. It was also useful to civilians who were in need during the Covid period, coupled with full support to the doctors and medical professionals, who faced offensive probations due to the prejudices prevalent in society.”
Looking after the coordination-response of the Cell, ASI Gautam Sarkar from the Traffic Department spoke about the first and very important responsibility — to respond to the family of affected police personnel — which was a top priority. “It became important and ethically necessary for us to handle the panic-stricken family members on the other side of the phone and provide them with the strength and solace, making them aware of the prevailing condition and chances of recovery. Slowly, they started to understand and turned calmer. We started working on the information about mediclaim or health-scheme medical insurance of the patients. We documented everything accordingly and the Welfare Cell immediately started the process of the patient’s admission, also making arrangements in the nearest available hospital from their residence. At times, during the peak of the pandemic, we also tried to initiate and make arrangements for admittance in other non-Covid wards when there was an emergency.”
Communication becomes the first and foremost important step to understand and reduce the mishappenings during a crisis. Home Guard Paramita Deb had a key role to play and doubled up as one of the tele-counsellors. She said: “Providing therapeutic care through a warm and interpersonal communication over the phone and also regular visits to the families of the affected gave them the courage to stand firm and also helped us to morally boost the patient. The care towards women and children, talking to them on a regular basis and those affected provided them with the moral impetus which was most effective for gradually taking the patients towards betterment and creating improved facilities in the female wards, where we communicated at times on their behalf with the medical officers.”
ACP Soven Banerjee, the Admin-Head and PRO of the Welfare Cell, said: “The Welfare Cell stood as a rear pillar of support through the relentless service and sacrifice of the workers and volunteers of the Cell. Separated from their peers and families, their only onus was to be by the side of those who became infected with the deadly virus and had to be isolated after being Covid positive, be it police personnel or their family or anyone in dire need.”
The unity and coordination among the intermediate working groups of the Cell made them carry on their fight against Covid aggressively.