CHHATTISGARH: Raigarh district, about 180 km east of Raipur, is grateful to the police for a variety of reasons. The men in Khaki have secured food for the poor, ensured compliance of COVID safety norms and looked after the elderly and the needy citizens. The diverse roles were performed under the humanitarian work culture evolved by IPS officer Santosh Kumar Singh.
As the district SP, Singh has led his team through all challenges and worked along with the district administration in pandemic management. Raigarh is close to Odisha and, being an industrial belt of the Chhattisgarh, has a more challenging job at hand.
The 2011-batch IPS officer's day begins with studying his district tracker for coronavirus cases and engaging his force with the needy. Learning from experience and widening the functioning capacity of the police are his key objectives which he has pursued along with the guidelines laid down by the state government.
Singh has won applause nationally from the Central IPS Association for his efforts to meet the COVID challenges. "The poor are the most vulnerable. The Raigarh police garnered resources, material and manpower, to ensure the needy in distress get prompt help even if we had to go the extra mile," says Singh.
Singh has created a unique record of distributing 12.37 lakh masks in one day via the promotion campaign "Ek Rakshasutra Mask Ka". The Raigarh police team took up another humanitarian role to find out who the hungry are.
During the second Covid wave, Santosh Singh and his men deployed across 25 police stations in the district distributed food and dry ration daily. They took care to feed over 35,000 needy people, and many of them accessed the 24x7 police help-desk set up by Raigarh SP.
The police assisted in the vaccination drive, transportation, home delivery of ration, information about the availability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, or other medical supplies. 'Samarpan' - a community policing drive launched by Chhattisgarh DGP DM Awasthi to lend a hand to the senior citizens in distress - helped Singh and his team to reach out to them during hardships.
Complying with the directives of the CM Bhupesh Baghel, the police further disseminated among the residents all relevant information on handling the unusual situation.
During the first wave too, the Raigarh police had provided food and ration packets to over one lakh needy people caught amid a sudden lockdown. Singh didn’t spare violators of Covid protocols but ensured his force acted sympathetically.
"During the pandemic, we have remained most accessible with interactive multifarious roles under the supervision of our SP," said Avinash Thakur, CSP Raigarh. Elderly residents Manjunath Sethia, Kripalal Sahu, Shahroz Khan, in their 70s, praised Singh for his patience in hearing out people's grievances. "We were assisted by police to cope with personal inadequacy," said Sethia.
It was the daily task of each police station to distribute the food packet to the needy. The Raigarh police roped in various industries, social and community organizations to assist in the noble cause. "We enthusiastically supported the initiative of the Raigarh SP who ensured donated ration, food packets and other needy stuff reached the right place and to the deserving individuals through the police stations," said Kavita Beriwal of Divyasakti Foundation and Umesh Upadhyay president of Bhojpuri Samaj.
Singh expanded the mandate of the police to border check posts, railway stations, quarantine centres, containment zones, security at hospitals and medical colleges even as his force worked with the district administration.
"We have used all social media platforms for two-way communication with the public. We supported labourers in accessing conveyance and helped distressed people arriving from Odisha," Addl SP Abhishek Verma said.