Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

Official’s appeal elicits positive response; many non-residents cancel their slots.

In the absence of smooth Internet connectivity in the remote Dodra-Kwar area of Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, many locals in the 18-44 age group are finding it difficult to get slots for vaccination, even as most of the slots for May 27 were booked by outsiders, forcing local authorities to appeal to all outsiders to cancel their slots to let residents of this remote region get inoculated.

The appeal made by B.R. Sharma, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate at Rohru, on May 25 yielded a positive result as many people who do not reside in Dodra-Kwar have cancelled their slots for May 27, so that locals can get vaccinated on priority.

“Since the appeal, I had received several messages on my phone from people who are not residents of Dodra-Kwar for cancellation of their slots. This is very encouraging as we will be able to vaccinate locals at a faster pace. Our priority is to get people vaccinated in this region as early as possible. The road connectivity to this remote remains cut-off for months once there is snowfall in the higher reaches,” Mr. Sharma told The Hindu over phone.

There is poor Internet connectivity in the area, which has a population of around 7,000. A team of government officials has been stationed at Rohru for registering locals on the CoWIN portal for vaccination.

“Several teams of officials have been constituted. These officials go to villages and collect documents and other details of the locals. They return to Rohru, where registrations for vaccination on behalf of the locals are done by the administration. Interestingly, on May 25, when the team started the registration (18-44 age group) for May 27, they realised that most of the slots were already booked.

“In fact, close to 90% slots were booked by people from outside Dodra-Kwar. Following this, I made an appeal, to which people have responded well. I am hopeful our team will be able to vaccinate a greater number of locals today (Thursday), after the cancellations,” he said.

“As the State government is yet to adopt an on-the-spot registration system, I have urged the government for exempting this region from slot-booking process and allow on-the-spot registration, keeping in view the Internet constraints and the remoteness,” said Mr. Sharma.

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