He has his own house, but he feared social ostracism. Having recently recovered from the dreaded COVID-19, Panna Lal Dey was worried about neighbours’ reaction if he returned home at Nalpur village in Howrah’s Sankrail area.
Hence, Dey, an employee of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), decided to make the retiring room of Sankrail railway station his temporary shelter after being discharged from MR Bangur Hospital following complete recovery on May 13.
Fears of being chased away and assaulted drove Dey, who works as a pump operator at Topsia in the city, to mindlessly stroll around in the Sankrail area and survive on food and water offered by locals.
After being informed, Howrah Police Commissioner Kunal Aggarwal asked the local police to provide all possible assistance to the man. When a team of police officers enquired about it, they realised Dey was reluctant to return home fearing social ostracism.
Finally, they convinced him and dropped him at his Nalpur home. They also gave him some ration and a helpline number in case of any assistance.
Later, Dey said he was confused and could not decide on the next step. He told News18, “I am really thankful to the Howrah Police for their help. Not only they safely escorted me to my home but also assured me all kind of help. I will never forget this gesture of theirs. They appeared like a messiah before me.”
Aggarwal said, “We are trying to help as many people who are in need and distressed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our officers are working round-the-clock and I have assured all the people in my district to approach my office directly if required. I would like to request everybody to maintain social distancing and cooperate with the police in containing this virus. Our officers have also been briefed to take extra care of the elderly people and women in crisis.”