KASARAGOD: When the district administration announced that the police would deliver essential items at your doorstep, people may have wondered: “After all, how much help can the police be of?” Lathika P, a heart patient in Periya, would testify they can go to the other end of the state and beyond, if need be.
When Lathika, a heart patient for 19 years, ran out of her cardiac medication, she found herself in a conundrum. With the lockdown in place, she was unable to go out and buy the medicines herself. She also could not afford to go long without it, as she had an 11-year-old son -- an endosulfan victim -- to take care of. The only person she thought of approaching was Ambalathara Kunhikrishnan,
convenor of the Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani, the NGO fighting for the rights of the survivors. Kunhikrishnan shared Lathika’s problem on a WhatsApp group comprising volunteers, which was subsequently picked up by Coastal assistant sub-inspector M T P Saifudeen. He had formerly helped procure medicine for a cancer patient in Chattanchal.
“I checked out the medical shops in both Mangaluru and Kannur, but the medication Lathika needed was not available,” said Saifudeen. Since she was undergoing treatment at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, he knew that the pills were available at a medical shop near the hospital. So he approached CPI’s district leader M Damodaran, who informed local MLA and Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan. The minister is based in Thiruvananthapuram and is heading the State Disaster Management Committee. “He immediately sent his PA Vishnu and asked him to get the medicine,” said a party leader.
The minister then called up state police chief Loknath Behera and asked him to take the necessary steps to get the medicine delivered to Lathika. Behera tapped the Highway Police for the job. With a direct order, the Highway Police across the state charted out a plan.“The police took out an all-night relay ride to transport the pack of pills over a 550km distance,” Saifudeen said. “The first car rolled out of the capital at 9pm. By 5am the next day, the medication reached the Nileshwar police station. As many as 19 police vehicles were involved,” he said. On the way, the police also picked up a pack of medicine from Kozhikode police station -- this one for a 35-year-old cancer patient at Karivellur in Kannur. When Lathika got the pack, it had 50 pills. She had only asked for 25.
This unique model of transporting medicines has surely impressed the government. In his daily bulletin on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said both the police and the Fire and Rescue Services personnel should step in if medicines had to be transported from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod.