Monday, 30th October 2017

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Sanitisers for elderly in Santiniketan

Santiniketan is a popular retirement retreat with an estimated population of over 400 elderly people

By Snehamoy Chakraborty in Santiniketan
  • Published 22.03.20, 1:25 AM
  • Updated 22.03.20, 1:25 AM
  • a min read
Police distribute masks and hand sanitisers among elderly people in Santiniketan on Saturday. Picture by Indrajit Roy

Birbhum police have begun a drive to distribute protective masks and sanitisers among the elderly in Santiniketan as protection against the coronavirus pandemic.

Santiniketan is a popular retirement retreat with an estimated population of over 400 elderly people living alone in areas such as Purba Pally, Ratan Pally, Shyambati and Prantik. The average age of the elderly people, many of whom are from Calcutta, is 68 years. Most of them are either retired university teachers or employees, or senior government officials.

The police have requested them not to step out, telling them to contact cops if they needed help. According to a government advisory, people above 65 years and below 10 years are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“We always keep in touch with the elderly people in Santiniketan to assist them in their need. Now we have requested them not to step out of home because of the coronavirus threat. We have told them that our people will address their needs,” said Birbhum police chief Shyam Singh.

“Children and elderly people should be more careful as it affects them more than anyone else,” a doctor said.

Sources said the police had in 2018 taken an initiative, named Aswas (assurance), to help and provide security to elderly people in Santiniketan.

The police have a database of around 315 elderly people living alone in Santiniketan. The move was taken primarily for the security of the elderly as several incidents of thefts and snatching were being reported from their houses.

On Saturday, a police team headed by Bolpur sub-divisional police officer Abhishek Ray provided masks and hand sanitisers to 100 people.

“We will continue the drive. We have also requested the elderly people not to move out of their homes. They have been given the contact numbers of our personnel who will provide them at the doorstep everything they would need,” Ray said.

The elderly people lauded the effort of the police when they came to give them masks and sanitisers.

“It is a nice initiative by the police to provide us with such necessities when the coronavirus threat looms large. We are really thankful for their help and assurance to deliver our needs at our homes,” said Subrata Sen Majumdar, a retired teacher of Visva-Bharati’s Patha Bhavana school.

Suniti Kumar Pathak, a retired professor and nonagenarian, said he felt “very happy” when the police came to deliver masks and sanitisers at his doorstep.