No Net in remote Himachal area, outsiders book 90% vaccine slots

Cancel bookings, SDM urges non-locals

No Net in remote Himachal area, outsiders book 90% vaccine slots

Slots for vaccination have been booked by outsiders in the remote Dodra-Kwar area of Shimla.

Subhash Rajta

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 26

Over 90 per cent slots for vaccination (18-44 age group) in the remote Dodra-Kwar area of Shimla district, which has no Internet connectivity, have been booked by outsiders.

To make amends, the Rohru SDM has requested all outsiders to cancel their slots so that the underprivileged local population is not deprived of a chance to get vaccinated.

“Given the geographical condition and other factors like Internet connectivity, I have written to the government to exempt registration and slot booking for the area. We should be allowed on-the-spot booking as we have in the 45-plus category,” said BR Sharma, SDM, Rohru.

As the area, with a population of around 8,000, lacks Internet connectivity, the administration has taken the responsibility of registering locals on CoWin portal. “As it is not possible for locals to get registered, we made village-wise teams to collect their documents and phones. The teams then come to Rohru and register the beneficiaries. We have already registered 200 persons for two sessions,” said Sharma.

Following the registration, the administration had deputed teams to book slots for the registered individuals. However, when the teams tried to book slots on Tuesday, they found to their surprise that most slots had already been taken. “My teams could hardly book eight to 10 slots, the remaining were taken by outsiders, many from Shimla,” said Sharma.

“People don’t realise that it’s a 10-hour drive from Shimla to Kwar. They book the slot without realising how far and inaccessible the place is. Eventually, many will not show up. So neither they will get the vaccine, nor the locals,” he said.

Another reason why the administration wants the people here vaccinated at the earliest is that the area gets cut off for months when it snows on the higher reaches. “You can’t say when the area will be cut off. So, it’s best that we vaccinate them as early as possible,” said Sharma.

Meanwhile, the area has already recorded around 90 per cent vaccination in the 45-plus age group. “We have gone from village to village to vaccinate people, often on foot for 3-4 hours,” said Dr Rahul Gangwar, posted at Civil Hospital in Kwar.

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