Volunteers from Kulshekar Area Lay White Markings near Stores for People to follow Social Distancing

Volunteers from Kulshekar Area Lay White Markings near Stores for People to follow Social Distancing

Mangaluru: Millennials invent a word for every new phenomenon. For instance, individuals who ignore government instructions of staying at home and practising social distancing to curb Coronavirus or people who have begun hoarding food thereby causing food shortage across the world, have been called ‘covidiots’ by the netizens. The term is a portmanteau, combining two words — Covid-19, and idiots. And I had used that “COVIDIOTS’ in my last article when educated but ignorant people of Mangaluru were not following the govt’s and DC’s guidelines of Social Distancing while buying their essentials like milk, groceries, veggies/fruits/medicine etc.

While it may be easy to dismiss such individuals as ‘idiots’, but I claim that several factors are responsible for such cavalier behaviour, which show an utter disregard towards public health safety, and a complete lack of social responsibility. Some of the factors that make people act in such a careless manner are social conditioning, lack of faith in the health care system, botched-up messaging from the government about COVID-19, lack of historicity as well as the absence of scientific approach. Even though people who are aware of the virus and its deadly impact, often ignore government advisories and media warnings because of their obsessive need for instant gratification.

Also, many are groomed with a ‘chalta hai’ attitude which fuels our irresponsibility (appropriate ability to respond). And why many people don’t understand that social distancing is a big part of social responsibility is because they generally don’t think about society at all, and have a very limited world view. They don’t ever think about how to behave in public life, and what are their duties and responsibilities towards the society. One of the reasons why people are not responding to social distancing is because they are not fully aware of the seriousness of the problem.

Seeing people not following the guidelines in the wake of Coronavirus, and especially ignoring Social Distancing while buying their daily essentials as permitted by the govt and district administration at supermarkets and stores, a group of young volunteers from Kulshekar area, under the leadership of Rohan F S ( name changed on request) took the initiative in going around the area from Bikkarnakatta until Vamanjoor, and started marking lines with white stone lime powder (marking powder), so that consumers stay behind the line, keeping a distance from each other, thus able to contain coronavirus/Covid-19. All that was needed was two bags of limestone marking powder, and one hour time, to do the markings at nearly 25 shops that were open from the Bikkarankatta to Vamnajoor stretch. And while doing so, we can see people standing inside the marked line, until their turn comes to make their purchase. A job well done by these youngsters.

We need to applaud these youngsters because when the district authorities and others leaders sit in the comfort of their air-conditioned offices and direct orders to follow social distancing, and do that and do this- but never take the initiative to get out and set things right so that the people, educated and non-educated know what these honchos are talking about. Implementing ideas and guidelines is okay, but enforcing them and making them look right is very important which has been lacking so far- and still, nothing much is practically done than theory from the govt nor local administration.

And in that case, young volunteers like these, and other NGO members come handy with their services to make the present lockdown situation safe and healthy under the guidelines of the govt and other authorities, which are nothing but TALK and no PRACTICALS? Even though there has been a lot of anger venting on social media towards those who continue to flout social distancing rules, but like most cases, anger isn’t the solution. In that case, the one-on-one approach may be most effective. Or, if you take the initiative like these Kulshekar youngsters to broach the subject with the citizens who have refused to practice social distancing so far, it worked more than posting angry stories on Instagram. And for that matter, the citizens need to model correct behaviour and discourage the wrong behaviour and attitude.

These youngsters have set a perfect example to all those citizens who were ignoring the social distancing guidelines, hoping that from now onwards that they will keep the distance from each other while shopping for their essentials, by staying behind the white markings, until their turn comes to go forward and make their purchase. Hope others will follow in the example of these Kulshekar youth, and also do community service in their areas at the earliest.

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