“Many doctors are treating the patients via online service or they are checking their patients even behind a glass wall. But police officials are performing their duties on pickets, quarantine centres, hospitals and other important places during the lockdown. They face every kind of person while enforcing SOPs”
Even when the administration of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory has recognized the valuable services of the employees of the Health and Medical Education by extending special financial incentives for them, the role of police and media as COVID-19 warriors has been apparently ‘disregarded’, despite their indefatigable fight amid pandemic.
Acknowledging their tireless service, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha approved special financial incentives for COVID-19 Warriors of Health and Medical Education Department of the union territory. The incentive will be Rs 10,000 per month for resident doctors, PGs and Medical Officers, Rs 7,000 per month for nursing and paramedical staff, and Rs 5,000 per month for drivers, sweepers and attendants.
However, the police and media have been excluded from the incentives, despite their equal contribution in this battle against COVID-19.
Talking to The Typewriter, a senior police officer, wishing anonymity shared that it is very unfortunate that the administration failed to recognize services of the police personnel, who have been working day and night during these trying times.
“I am happy that the government has acknowledged the services of all the employees of the health and medical education, instead of only doctors and paramedical staff, but I have reservations why police has not been included in the list of beneficiaries,” said police officer, adding that since past couple of days, the police personnel are working round the clock to ensure strict imposition of pandemic induced lockdown.
He termed the fight against Covid-19 as Guerilla War due to its high risk and demanded acknowledgement of their role in the fight as frontline warriors.
“The visible enemy even larger in strength was less dangerous than the coveted enemy. The frightening element of suicide attacks has always been higher as compared to common attacks. The war on Covid-19 is actually being fought in streets, towns and hospitals,” he said and added the role of doctors and paramedical staff in this fight is being acknowledged and surely, there is no second opinion that doctors and paramedical staff deserve praise for standing against the virus. But in this fight, the services of the police department are being ignored despite the fact that they are fighting on the front line which deserves the most applause.
He asserted that if circumstances are compared, cops are in very critical situations as compared with doctors. “It is the job of doctors to treat the patients and fight the virus. Likewise, they also come into the field equipped with all precautionary measures. They know that rather than the patient being confirmed or suspected, they face the patients after adopting all safety measures. Many doctors are treating the patients via online service or they are checking their patients even behind a glass wall. All these safety measures are necessary and such steps must be acknowledged. But police officials are performing their duties on pickets, quarantine centres, hospitals and other important places during the lockdown. They face every kind of person while enforcing SOPs,” senior police officer lamented.
Giving reference to the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, the police officer said that even the Prime Minister had asked the country to applaud the police as a show of gratitude for their selfless work in combating the spread of the coronavirus.
Senior police officer, however, said that there is no doubt that police are working day and night, “but I feel at present the priority should be to save the lives of the people in this pandemic,” he said.
Meanwhile, a journalist, wishing not to be named because of organizations’ policy, said that the administration has reduced media to the level of only certificates, despite the fact that at present the media persons are the most affected lot.
“The media persons are working on meager salaries, but have been putting all efforts to execute their duty of communicating relevant information to the masses,” said the journalist, adding that not at par with others, but there should have been some incentives for the media persons as well, so that they may not feel isolated.
President, Press Club Jammu, Ashwani Kumar said that many states have already brought media into this category.
“Jammu and Kashmir administration must also think about bringing the media into this category. I am particular about professional and working journalists only and not fake journalists, who are out in the market with mobile phones and a mic,” he said and added that the government must provide incentives to the media in Jammu and Kashmir.
When asked about the role of the Press Club in pushing for it, Ashwani said that Press Club is an organization, which has only a mandate to run the club, it is not any trade union. “We approached the government with issues pertaining to unprofessional journalists in the city, but as of now nothing has been done,” said Ashwani.
Pertinent to mention that in view of rise in Covid-19 cases and to give a fillip to available medical services at this crucial juncture, the Lt Governor also granted an extension up to December 31, 2021, in favour of the faculty members, consultants, doctors working in SKIMS, Soura, Srinagar/Bemina; Government Medical Colleges and Health department who are going to retire from May 2021 to November 2021.
The tenure in respect of the doctors presently undergoing various tenure postings viz Registrarship, Demonstratorship, Fellowship, Senior/Junior Residency, etc in SKIMS, Soura, Srinagar/Bemina; Government Medical Colleges of the Union Territory have also been extended up to December 31, 2021. The decision was taken to optimally utilize the experiences of these medical professionals to effectively deal with the evolving COVID situation.