From battling on borders to standing guard in mandis, ex-soldiers volunteer in fight against Covid-19
Sepoy Gurpreet Singh has braved long duty hours on icy heights of Ladakh, been within the thick of counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and been deployed within the desert bordering Pakistan.
Now, after retirement, the doughty former Sikh Regiment jawan teams up with another former soldier and is on duty up to 10 hours each day , overseeing the procurement of wheat harvest during a mandi in Ferozepur district.
Gurpreet Singh and his fellow former Infantryman, Naik Rajwinder Singh of Punjab Regiment, perform their post-retirement Covid-19 deployment following the ‘buddy’ system of the military as they might neutralize any operation .
The 2 members of the Guardians of Governance Scheme of Punjab government team with two policemen and make sure that the wheat procurement within the Mandi is as per the COVID-19 precautions. the 2 battle-hardened former soldiers are a part of the 3195 Guardians of Governance (GoGs) assisting the Mandi Board in its procurement task amid curfew and lockdown thanks to Covid-19.
“I begin my duty at around 8 in the morning along side my buddy and two cops. We are often deployed for up to 10 hours at a stretch till about 6 within the evening,” says Gurpreet Singh. The Sikh Regiment veteran says he feels that he and his fellow GoGs have an onerous responsibility on their shoulders in these trying times which is not any but fighting a war.
“It is extremely important to prevent this tide of coronavirus and that we often need to strive hard to form villagers who come to the mandi to know the importance of social distancing and hygiene. But we are happy that the villagers and farmers comply happily with our instructions due to the innate faith they need during a ‘fauji’,” says Harpreet consistent with Brigadier HV Singh (retd), related to the GoG project ever since Covid-19 broke out the GoGs are performing a spread of tasks.
“The veterans are performing tasks associated with handling the pandemic be it ensuring social distancing at banks and other public places, managing curfew and lockdown as per the wants of the district administrations,” said Brig Singh. consistent with a government spokesperson, the veterans are deployed in 1683 mandis across the state and oversee the continued procurement operations besides maintaining health protocol including social distancing amongst all the stakeholders to stay the spread of coronavirus under check.
Aside from these, GoGs have also been mandated to manage the safe movement of traffic in sync with staff of the market committees and Mandi Board to avoid crowd and congestion there.
officialdom say the veterans deployment has gone an extended way in ensuring seamless procurement of farmers produce and safety of all concerned in these trying circumstances.
The GoGs report back to the state headquarter in Chandigarh through their organizational set-up comprising tehsil and district heads, which successively are sharing their reports with the authorities of Mandi Board. Lauding the efforts of GoGs, Vishavjeet Khanna, Additional Chief Secretary Development, said these ex-servicemen had served the country with utmost devotion and sincerity throughout their active service.
“Now without caring their advanced age, have once more accepted the challenge to increase a hand to facilitate the government in implementation of its preparedness plans for staggered movement of wheat thanks to Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.