DEHRADUN: People returning to their homes in the hills given closures of private and government offices including schools, corporate offices and other establishments due to COVID-19 pandemic have induced fear in remote hilly villages of Uttarakhand.
Apprehension lingers in hearts of the residents of these villages that those coming from 'outside' might spread infection in the hills too.
A resident of a village near Gangolihat town in Pithoragarh district, where two have returned from Kerela and been kept in quarantine, said on the condition of anonymity, "At present Kerela has 24 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection. Someone coming back from there scares us. What if they are positive and people in the hills get infected? We don't have robust enough facilities to deal with the outbreak in the hills of Uttarakhand."
However, this has not stopped elders from their native places are calling the younger generation to come back to the hills where the 'air is clean and without any virus'.
Many do not recall such shutdown in their memory which has slowed life down to snail pace. Sanjana Mehta (25), a resident of Mana village near Badrinath adjacent to China border who resides in Dehradun has gone back to her village.
"Everything has been shut down. I cannot recall such a situation in my living memory or my parents'. This unprecedented unfolding of the situation has opened a window of opportunity for people like me to return to their roots. No matter how brief but this time has united me to my native place and people," said Mehta.
Steps are already being taken by the state government and the centre ranging from closure schools, malls, ban on gathering, creation of thousands of isolation wards and appealing to the people to take all necessary precautions.