KASARGOD: In the first week of May, Hazarika, 10, phoned her father Ravindran Pulikkal, 52, and asked, “Why don’t you check whether we are alive?” Two days before the call, a storm had destroyed the tin roof of Ravindran’s house at Madikai. Ravindran, a junior health inspector in Chemnad panchayat, last visited his house on Vishu on April 14. Ravindran has little time for the family now.
Hazarika was lucky her call got through, for Ravindran’s phone is always engaged. Malayalis across the world – from doctors in the US to labourers in Qatar – call him to clear doubts on Covid-19, quarantine and on how to get back to Kerala. “Some days, I attended 600 calls,” he said. Ravindran, who stays near the Chemnad panchayat office building, wakes up at 2.30 am, disinfects his room, office and gets ready for public service by 6am.
From pregnant women seeking assistance to go to hospitals to kidney patients needing medicines, he attends to everyone. Meanwhile, when the borders were opened for inter-state travel on May 4, people who did not register with NORKA started arriving. “People are coming in container trucks, and on foot. We have to prepare quarantine facility for them in short notice and begin contact tracing,” he said. Hazarika will have to wait a long time.