In a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Defence on Thursday said that it has taken a decision to mobilise ex-servicemen (ESM) to assist the state and district administrations wherever required.
"As the nation continues to fight the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Ex-Servicemen welfare (ESW), Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken the initiative to mobilise services of Ex-Servicemen (ESM) community as a part of augmentation of precious human resource to assist the state and district administration, wherever required," the ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry, Rajya Sainik Boards, Zila Sainik Boards are playing a dynamic role in identifying and mobilising maximum ESM volunteers to assist the local administration in performing public outreach activities such as contact tracing, community surveillance, management of quarantine facilities or any such tasks assigned to them.
India recorded a spike in COVID-19 positive cases by over 400 in the past 24 hours, taking total number of active cases to 1,764. The total death due to coronavirus has touched 50, according to latest information available on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's website.
"It is heartening to note the ESM across the country have risen to the occasion of 'Service before Self' at a time when nation has made a clarion call and need them to fight this unique challenge. Ex-Servicemen are disciplined, motivated and well trained to operate in adverse situations and they have pan-India presence in all the districts and villages across the country," the statement read.
In Punjab, an organisation called 'Guardians of Governance', comprising 4,200 ESM, are assisting in data collection from all the villages.
While the Chhattisgarh government has employed some ESM to assist the police, the Goa government has asked ESM to remain on standby for any assistance to the local administration.
In Uttar Pradesh, all Zila Sainik Kalyan Adhikaris are in touch with district control rooms and retired army medical corps personnels have been identified and kept ready. In addition, Sainik Rest Houses are being readied in Uttarakhand to act as isolation centres if the need arises. In Andhra Pradesh, all the District Collectors have asked for ESM volunteers.
By Chitranjan Kumar