The police personnel deputed at the Banderdewa check gate of Arunachal Pradesh have been left to fend for themselves against possible COVID-19 infection at a time when students stranded outside the State due to the lockdown are trooping in.
Sources said the police personnel at the check gate bordering Assam have been discharging their duties without adequate protective gear despite facing the risk of contracting the life-threatening viral infection like the frontline healthcare workers.
“The personal protection equipment (PPE) issued to us two weeks ago have already been used and we have no more left at present,” said Gocham Tassa, the inspector in-charge of Banderdewa police station when enquired.
“We had received 21 pieces of PPEs. Some of the police personnel wore them for 3-4 days as we were unaware that those were supposed to be used only once,” he said.
He said the doctors had told him that the PPEs were designed for one-time use.
“Our men are still carrying out their duties with face masks and gloves even though they are at equal risk of contracting the virus as the healthcare workers,” he added.
Capital superintendent of police Tumme Amo, denying reports of scarcity, said the PPEs were provided to the Banderdewa police on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The PPEs cost us Rs 1500 each,” he said.
Amo said an additional 100 pieces have been issued by the police headquarters and have been kept in stock.
DGP R P Upadhyaya said the 100 PPEs given the Capital police was procured from the police headquarters welfare fund.
“The government had given us 1,000 pieces of PPEs initially and we procured another 1,000 from the welfare fund and the same is being distributed in all the districts. We presently have another 500 in stock,” he said.
Inspector Tassa later said he went to police headquarters to collect the PPEs following a call from the SP.
But he managed to bring only a few pieces as the official in charge of the coveralls was not there.
“I will bring more tomorrow,” he said.
Arunachal Pradesh, which falls in the green zone, has been witnessing massive reverse migration of stranded people since May 4.