The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable and unprecedented ways. The last 16 months could reasonably be called “the worst of times” that the world has collectively endured in recent memory. The second wave of COVID-19 had hit India harshly. Though the ongoing crisis exposed the poor health infrastructure and medical facilities of India, the government and authorizations are working relentlessly to cope up with this crisis.
Since India being a largely populated country, the Government is somewhere failing to provide necessary health and medical facilities for the ongoing pandemic to each people of the country despite of its countless efforts. In this crisis, NGOs are coming up as a blessing for many needy people whether it is in terms of providing food, medical equipments, oxygen, beds and lots more. The whole country including High Courts and Supreme Courts appreciated the selfless efforts of all small and big NGOs and understands their importance; no matter whether it is at the time of crisis or not, they serve needy ones whole heartedly and detach their miseries they are indulged in.
The Uttarakhand high court (HC) regarding handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, on 11th May, 2021, asked the state government to ensure that passes are issued to volunteers of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in supplying food and other essential items to all COVID patients. The bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma has also asked the government’s chief standing counsel CS Rawat to ensure that shops selling oxygen cylinders and other supplies are not forced to shut because of the curfew in several towns and cities across the state. The oral direction came from the court while hearing a PIL filed by Dehradun resident Anu Pant about the ongoing COVID scenario in the state capital. Abhijay Negi, counsel for petitioner informed the bench that several shops selling oxygen supply shut down in the evening due to curfew despite dire need of people. Negi said to the court to ask the government counsel whether oxygen shops come under essential services or not, to which the government counsel agreed and henceforth, the court directed to inform about this to both the administration and shop owners. Negi further added, the court emphasized on the fact that essential supplies like food and medicine should reach the people in need and to those locked inside containment zones. The court also ordered the district authorities to issue passes to the volunteers involved in the task and has now clubbed the PIL with around other similar petitions.
Apart from providing aid to people in need, NGOs also raise their voice against the major issues prevailing in that situation. Civil society organizations and NGOs working for rights of marginalised sections on 11th May, 2021, rose before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the inadequate reach of medical care and vaccination drive among nomadic tribes and unorganized sector workers at a time when the country is dealing with the second COVID wave. Being public health as the top priority, it was suggested by Civil society organizations and human rights defending groups, at an online meeting organized by NHRC with around 100 representatives of NGOs, that health facilities including hospital beds and oxygen as well as vaccination drive should be enhanced with the aim to reach out to each citizen of the country including nomadic tribes and unorganized sector workers. NHRC realized that the ardent efforts need to be put in, in order to improve the public health sector so that the country is adequately prepared to meet any public health emergencies and challenges in future. Chairing the meeting, NHRC secretary Bimbadhar Pradhan lauded the role of the civil society organizations in the current challenging time and also appealed each one of us to extend a helping hand to the other in need and thus, spreading the message of unity. He further compliments the efforts of the various government agencies on the ground and also assured to provide necessary aid from their end. The online seminar also had an eye on the suggestive requisite initiatives/steps to mitigate the sufferings of the citizens of the country.
In a nutshell, NGOs along with Government and other authorities are putting their countless and selfless efforts to cope up with this crisis and with the strong cooperation of Indians, the day is surely no far away from our victory against COVID-19 pandemic.