Peh village in Manipur, with a population of 3,800 people approximately, has been silently and tenaciously working to protect the village from COVID-19 pandemic. Located at a distance of about 32 km from Ukhrul district headquarters, the village is setting an example to fight the pandemic as a community.
The village has set up two quarantine centres; one at Kharar Ngayi and another at Ngahurum. The quarantine centre at Kharar Ngayi is about 2 km away from the village settlement. It is spread across over 1 km, on both sides of the road before reaching the village settlement. It has 110 temporary huts with separate toilet and bathroom for each hut fitted with electricity and phone charging points. The huts are built 50 feet away from the road and there is a space of 20 feet between each hut.
Similar structures have been set up at Ngahurum with a total of 30 temporary huts. The construction of huts is still going on at this spot for the returnees who are arriving.
The centre at Kharar Ngayi is divided into east and west zones. The east zone is allotted to returnees from red zone and the west zone is allotted to returnees from orange and green zones.
Food, water and firewood are provided so that the inmates may cook for themselves. At present, there are 218 returnees, of which 150 are females and 68 are males. Depending on the size of the huts and places from which they returned, rooms are assigned to the inmates. 17,000 litres of water are being provided daily to the two centres.
The centres are managed by the Disaster Management Committee of Peh Village, which has been constituted at the village level. The Village has also made rules and regulations in sync with the SOP of the authority.
These rules and regulations are enforced by the volunteers comprising youths who are camping 24x7 near the quarantine centres. For transportation of goods and returnees, the management committee has hired a Shaktiman truck at a cost of Rs. 1.50 lakh and DI Pick Up truck at a cost of Rs. 55,000 till June 30.
Fuel for the vehicle is provided by the management committee. The drivers along with the vehicles are also being stationed at the quarantine site and are prohibited from going home.
Co-convenor of the Disaster Management Committee of Peh Village, Lemza Raising narrated that the villagers have been working day and night to ensure that no citizens, especially villagers are infected by the virus and make the village a COVID-19 free village with safety for all being the first priority.
He further added, “We are running the centres successfully through community participation. Every individual takes part in terms of monetary assistance and human resources in setting up the camp and running the centres."
Headman of Peh Village, Mawonshang A Shimray expressed heartfelt gratitude to MLA of Chingai assembly constituency, Khashim Vashum, for his relentless support and utmost concern for the people. He also thanked ADC Ukhrul for their support.
He also appealed to the chief minister, N Biren Singh to speed up the COVID-19 tests for every returnee to prevent further spread of the virus and avoid a worst case scenario in the future. “Let us fight this war together; we can win this war when we fight with discipline, self-responsibility and patience,” he asserted.
Peh village is, indeed, showing the way in responding and fighting the pandemic with empathy and rising up to their responsibility as a community.