Villagers building the huts.

Dwellers of remote Debing village in Arunachal Pradesh have come up with a unique way of enforcing home quarantine for the returnees by building separate quarantine huts for them.

Debing, which falls under the Ruksin circle in East Siang district, is about 240 kms from Itanagar. The village has some 150 households.

The villagers under the supervision of Debing Bane Kebang (local village committee) have so far managed to set up 14 huts made up of bamboos and locally available materials with all the basic facilities including electricity and running water.

The huts, built completely on a self-help basis, have been erected a kilometre away from the main village as a precautionary measure.

“Once the returnees complete their stay at the state or central quarantine and their swab samples tests are negative, they will be bought to the huts and kept there under strict quarantine for 28 days,” Kaling Moyong, the secretary of the village committee said.

Moyong said Debing has 40 people who are working in different parts of the country and some of them are already on their way back home.

“As thousands of stranded people have started returning to the state from various parts of the country, we also started to get calls from our villagers who wished to return home. Accordingly, we sat for a meeting with the villagers and came up with the plan to set up the huts,” Moyong said.

He said putting people on quarantine during epidemics is, however, not new for some of the tribes of the state and they have been following such practices since time immemorial.

“The quarantine process for our returnees will be different though, as we will keep them on quarantine for 28 days. Following that, a medical check-up would be conducted and if all is well, they will be allowed to go to their homes,” he said.

Moyong said, out of the 14 huts built so far, two has be kept separate for the volunteers who would monitor the returnees 24×7.

Kalut Dai, a local youth of the village and also the vice-president of All East Siang District Student Union said that they have also segregated the huts zone-wise.

“Each zone has been demarcated and people arriving from red zones will stay in the huts categorised as red zone. Volunteers have been deployed to ensure that the inmates maintain all rules and follow the social distancing norms,” Dai said.

He said the inmates would be provided meals by the local self-help groups.

A Telangana returnee had reached the hut till the time of filing this report while four more would be joining him on Sunday.

Arunachal Pradesh at present has two active Covid-19 cases, both returnees, and they are undergoing treatment at the State Covid-19 Care Centre in Naharlagun.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com