COVID-19: Bengal govt compiles list of elderly persons living alone in urban areas

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday asked all police commissionerates to compile lists of elderly persons and elderly couples who are living alone and might need help for medical emergencies. The list is being compiled in view of emergencies due to COVID-19.

Many elderly couples and individuals live on their own and their children work outside — either in some other part of the country or abroad. It is impossible for them to have quick access to emergency medical services unless a backup system is available.

A part of the list has already been compiled in and around Kolkata, and several police commissionerates also have programmes for the elderly persons. Police stations are regularly in touch with the elderly persons who voluntarily become part of the police programmes. In the COVID-19 situation, many elderly persons have been reported to have been lying helpless without anyone to take them to hospitals when they were feeling unwell. Flooded with such reports and complaints, the state government had decided to prepare such a list – especially for those living in multistoried buildings. It is also a problem more acute in urban areas, where many live secluded lives without contact with or help and support from even next door neighbours.

During a meeting on Monday with district heads and police chiefs in Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly, state home secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay mentioned that such a list is being prepared. On Tuesday, the CM asked police commissioners all over the state and police authorities in urban areas across the state to prepare such lists.

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