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Darjeeling COVID Heroes: Anil Sharshar and Shiv Chandra Ram

Neatness and cleanliness is not a function of how rich or poor you are but that of mentality and principle: Ikechukwu Izuakor

Sanitation workers Anil Sharshar (left) and Shiv Chandra Ram

Mr. Anil Sharshar with his friend Shiv Chandra Ram, residents of ward number 30 Darjeeling, have been appointed to collect garbage from their neighbourhood. They have worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown and ensured hygiene and sanitation of their community. They were kind to share some of their thoughts with team Darjinc:

We were appointed into this responsibility by some elders of our community. We collect garbage from households of our neighbourhood on a daily basis and ensure that it reaches the Municipality garbage collectors. Now with the onset of Monsoon, working with garbage does become tedious. But we do it because it is a responsibility that we have taken upon ourselves. Although we are granted some compensation, our main motive has always been to keep our gau and samajh clean. We also try to ensure that garbage isn’t thrown everywhere.

Photos by Nawami Gurung

When the pandemic started, we had to halt our work for a bit. But gradually we understood that hygiene cannot be compromised. So after a few discussions with the administrative heads of our community, we decided to keep doing our job amidst this pandemic.

"We have been equipped with the required protective measures like gloves, raincoats, and sanitizers. But this pandemic situation is scary, every day we hear of cases rising, especially in Siliguri. Even here in Darjeeling, the numbers are increasing by the day. Sometimes we feel like our equipment may not always ensure us safety.

The job is risky and we fear for our own health. It is quite time consuming too. Waking every morning to visit every house, you never know where the danger lies. Working with waste material under a health emergency has its own risks too."

There are a lot among our fraternity who are working equally hard. They ensure that the garbage in the town is safely collected and disposed of in the right place.

To everyone risking their health to do this job and everyone else, we encourage their endeavor to work, but being well-prepared and safe is a must so we must not forget to take care of ourselves and each other.

Photos by Nawami Gurung

DARJINC and MAYUKH TEA present Darjeeling COVID Heroes, a series to celebrate the unsung, often unnoticed heroes, who have truly served our community during this pandemic. Keep visiting this space for other such motivational and humane stories from the lockdown.

Transcribed by Simran Sharma

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