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Darjeeling civil society comes forward against coronavirus spread

Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 15:00 [IST]

Last Update: Saturday, Mar 21, 2020 09:17 [IST]

Darjeeling civil society comes forward against coronavirus spread

Our Correspondent

DARJEELING: Different organizations and citizens are coming forward to combat the spread ofcoronavirus that has triggered fear amongst the people of Darjeeling hills even as no positive case has been reported so far.

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI)has decided to offer 21 rooms to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) for isolation cases if any such situation arises.

“We have empty rooms which we felt could be offered to the GTA to house isolation cases if such a situation arises. I called up the GTA principal secretary and informed him about our decision,” said HMI principal Jai Kishan.

The institute has around 45 to 47 rooms for the trainees whocome from different States of the country and abroad and the HMIis ready to offer more rooms if required.

The HMI is presently closed for tourists and thetraining programmes have also rescheduled for now. Enrolled trainees have been given the option of taking the course from May 2020 to March 2021.The institute has also offered to provide free food, beddings and other basic necessities if such cases arise.

Similarly, other organizations and groups are helping out to combat the virus with free distribution of hand sanitizers and face masks.

One such group is 'Help for Kids,' comprising youths of different areas of the Hills including Sikkim is distributing face masks to children.

“We have found that children are vulnerable if they get infected with the disease. We also felt that children from financially weak background are not able to get hold of a mask or because of lack of knowledge. Therefore, we decided to distribute the masks for free to the children,” said Eric Gurung, founder member of the organization.

With the aim of keeping children indoors as much as possible and promote hygienic practice, the Alpine Philatelic and Numismatic Society of Darjeeling has come with an innovative idea to keep students at home.

The society is offering free hand sanitizers with a hygiene advisory along with a pouch of collection of stamps and a list of coins that they can collect for interested youths to engage in during the Sunday curfew.

“Our idea is to engage the youths and students and make them stay inside the house as much as possible. The youths can go through the stamps which are from 1964 to 2015, that we have offered of different countries in different times and collate them with the names we have provided in a separate paper sheet. They (youths) can also do the same with coins their family may have,” said VivekYonzon, secretary of the APNS.

Political organizations like the Gorkha National Liberation Front are also doing their bit by distributing face masks in different places.

On the other hand, the GorkhaJanmukti Morcha (Binay) camp trade union Darjeeling TeraiDooars Plantation Labour Union today demanded that measures should also be taken for the safeguard of tea garden workers with regards to coronavirus. The union has sent a memorandum to the district magistrate and also met management bodies like the Darjeeling Tea Association regarding the matter.

“The government is taking special measures to control the spread of the corona virus but no special measures are being taken to prevent the spread in the tea garden areas. They work in the factory areas which are crowded with a minimum of 150 workers. The government and the owners should take special measures to make them aware in the tea gardens as most of them are illiterate. They should either stop the plucking or take alternative measures,” said the DTDPLU leader, J.B. Tamang.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi