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Army of 50,000 ‘NCC corona warriors’ ready, being deployed across India

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NCC cadets assist police with implementing the lockdown in Madhya Pradesh | Photo: NCC
NCC cadets assist police with implementing the lockdown in Madhya Pradesh | Photo: NCC


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New Delhi: The National Cadet Corps (NCC) has created an army of 50,000 volunteers, who are being deployed across the country on the basis of requests from state governments to help in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

The number of NCC corona warriors volunteers has reached 50,000 and more are joining in,” the Director General of the NCC, Lt Gen Rajeev Chopra, told ThePrint.

He said states such as Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Bihar had already deployed the NCC volunteers.

We have got requests from Kerala and Odisha also now,” he said. “The states are seeing the advantage of employing the NCC cadets as it frees up their own staff for more work and hence the demand is increasing.”

ThePrint had reported on 2 April that the Narendra Modi government has decided to rope in NCC volunteers aged 18 or above, to help the Indian civil infrastructure.

The NCC, which operates under the Ministry of Defence, is the largest uniformed youth organisation in the country with an approximate strength of 14 lakhs. 

But only senior division volunteer cadets above 18 years of age — boys and girls — are being used to help the civil administration. 

Lt Gen Chopra said that within 15 days, 3,700 cadets have been deployed countrywide in 14 states, with the maximum in Gujarat where over 1,100 cadets are deployed for various duties. 

The cadets at a data control centre | Photo: NCC
The NCC cadets at a data control centre | Photo: NCC

‘Not being deployed for law and order’

The NCC chief said every step has been taken to ensure that the cadets are not exposed to the coronavirus and are not deployed for law and order duties.  

Safety of my cadets is of utmost importance. They are not being employed in areas that have been sealed or earmarked as hotspots by the state governments,” he said. “They are also not being employed for law and order duties.” 

The officer added that the cadets are being deployed as a homogeneous group of at least eight and are accompanied by an NCC officer or instructor who can ensure that they are safe and deployed for the right work. 

The cadets have been employed by the administration for a host of duties including help in traffic management, queue management outside ATMs, banks,” he said.

Additionally, they are also being deployed for distribution of ration and cooked food. 

Basically we have identified that the cadets can be used in logistics and supply chain, manning of helplines and as data managers,” Lt Gen Chopra said. 

He added the administration has realised that the deployment of NCC cadres helps them free up their own staff for more work in other fields.

The NCC cadets distributing food in South Delhi | Photo: NCC
The NCC cadets distributing food in South Delhi | Photo: NCC

‘People react better to NCC cadets’

Lt Gen Chopra said that authorities have discovered that people listen better and obey NCC cadets. 

At the end of the day, people connect with the NCC cadets because they see them as a reflection of their own children. The cadets are well mannered and speak well,” he said. “People realise that the cadets are volunteers and are not doing it because it is part of their job.”

The NCC chief said that more cadets are signing up to be corona warriors.

Since education institutions have been shut, many students have gone back to their homes and away from the NCC Directorate they come under. And hence we have told them that they can volunteer at places they are in currently,” he said.

The NCC network is spread throughout the country, as its 17 directorates cover all the 28 states and eight union territories. These directorates are further divided into 96 groups and 825 units, thus ensuring availability of cadets to the district administration in all the states.


Also read: Coronavirus hits Rafale deliveries to India, first four fighters expected in July, not May


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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