Sharp rise in volunteer force enrolment

Samoohika Sannadha Sena membership swells to 2.92 lakh

Updated - April 19, 2020 11:01 pm IST

Published - April 19, 2020 11:00 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts in the State have buttressed the government’s efforts to cultivate a volunteer force that can be deployed to assist law enforcement agencies during exigencies.

A clarion call by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to the public to become active partners in the State’s efforts to contain the pandemic has seen the Samoohika Sannadha Sena (community volunteer force) rapidly nearing its enrolment target of 3.4 lakh volunteers. The Sena was launched in January.

After the plea by Mr. Vijayan on March 26, people in the age group of 20-40 years enrolled in large numbers. Till then, the registrations had hovered around 12,000. The Sena is a 2.92-lakh strong force as on Sunday.

How they work

Sena director Amit Meena said the force has ensured that welfare measures of the government trickle down to all strata of society. The group, a mixed bag ranging from techies, health workers, engineers, sportspersons and autorickshaw drivers, has manned community kitchens and call-centres, delivered commodities, including food, medicines, essential supplies, seeds and fertilizers to doorsteps, ensured social distancing norms outside retail outlets, and organised blood donation camps during the lockdown. Mr. Meena said their operation was decentralised, with local bodies empowered to engage volunteers so as to utilise their expertise to the maximum extent.

Training by experts

Amith M.S., a coordinator, said 700 master trainers had been identified from various departments to train the volunteers.

The scheme, which will enrol people aged from 16 to 65 years following the COVID-19 crisis, is expected to attract students. The government is mulling over a way to assign academic credits for enabling youngsters who volunteer for assigned activities.

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