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Coronavirus | Migrant labourer completes quarantine on a tree

Arboreal home: Kamlesh Meena in quarantine in Bhilwara district, Rajasthan. Photo: Special Arrangement

Arboreal home: Kamlesh Meena in quarantine in Bhilwara district, Rajasthan. Photo: Special Arrangement  

He had walked 160 km from Ajmer’s Kishangarh to his village Sherpura in Bhilwara last month.

A young migrant labourer, who walked 160km from Ajmer’s Kishangarh to his native village in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan after the extension of coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown last month, has completed his mandatory 14-day quarantine period on a makeshift platform built on a tree in his agricultural field outside the village.

Kamlesh Meena, 24, took the unusual step when residents of Sherpura in Jahazpur tehsil stopped him from entering the village fearing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A section of the villagers advised him to go to the district hospital first and get himself tested.

Tension erupted when his family members and some others wanted him to be allowed to stay at his home.

 

A medical team was called from the Community Health Centre to collect his samples. It gave him the option of staying at the quarantine centre in Bhilwara.

Away from the village

After a long debate, the villagers decided to quarantine Kamlesh at a secluded place outside Sherpura. When Kamlesh offered to stay in his family’s agricultural field, a kilometre from the village, the villagers erected a wooden platform on a tree, plastic sheets serving as its roof. A temporary ladder made of bamboo was placed beside the tree. His father Sagarmal went to the field twice every day to deliver food, water and essential items.

“Kamlesh has completed his 14-day quarantine and has been found to be healthy, without any virus infection. A medical team went to the field every day to examine him,” Panchayat Elementary Education Officer Soji Ram Meena, in charge of COVID-19 control in Sherpura, told The Hindu on Monday.

 

The youngster has since shifted to his mud house to live with his family comprising his parents and a differently-abled brother.

Bhilwara’s achievement

Kamlesh, who worked as a tractor driver on daily wages, embarked on his journey when he heard that the lockdown was going to be extended beyond April 14. Sherpura, a small village with a population of around 600, is 90 km from Bhilwara.

The Bhilwara district, which had emerged as the first hotspot in Rajasthan after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, has successfully controlled the spread of the disease with its containment model.

For migrant workers, anxiety abounds about return to home towns and future jobs

Activist Sanjay Ladha said the labourer’s initiative should be treated as an instance of citizens’ cooperation with the administration to fight the disease.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 2:23:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-migrant-labourer-completes-quarantine-on-a-tree/article31504597.ece

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