Eight kilometers walk for a Covid vaccine jab!


Dateline Uttarkashi: While Uttarakhand’s state government preparations for the Mahakumbh made national headlines, elsewhere in the state, some eighteen kilometers from Purola Tehsil headquarters, elderly hill-folks from Sirbadiyaar area trudged eight kilometers to get their first dose of Covid vaccine.

On Tuesday early morning, a group of older people from a dozen villages in Sirbadiyar region, men and women ranging from their late sixties to eighties headed out to reach Sarnaul, the nearest vaccination center for Covid vaccine, eight kilometers away.

While those who could walk, trudged with their walking sticks, others hitched a horse-ride or used dandies or palanquins to negotiate the treacherous mountain path, even crossing mountain torrent helped along by each other!

Villagers vent their anger at the lack of empathy from the administration: “We have no roads, no connectivity, no bridges, no post offices or even the most basic of facilities here!”

Given Uttarakhand’s special geographical conditions, a little bit of empathy on the part of the powers-that-be, would have gone a long way in softening these body blows onto its citizenry. One cannot pretend that they have ceased to exist.

Young social activist Kailash Rawat highlighted the issue on social media expressing the angst of senior citizens at the insensitivity of the Health Department in not setting up camp closer to their home in the hills.

Talking to Newspost, Chief Medical Officer, Uttarkashi, DP Joshi said: “We are bound by the strict guidelines of the Government of India. We have to vaccinate our people where there is provision for ambulances to reach. Until such time that geographic limitations are not taken into consideration, policies cannot be changed. In the present scenario, our hands are tied. Till there are major policy changes, there is little that one can do.”

And until such time all we can pray for, is for the second dose of Covid vaccine to make its way closer to these hill-folks.