Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
On January 20, 2021, 'Noklak' was established as the 12th district of Nagaland. Spread across an area of 1,152 kilometres, the youngest district is located in the easternmost part of the state. It has been carved out of Tuensang district, comprising of areas mostly under erstwhile Noklak sub-division.
The Khiamniungan is the dominant tribe in the district which lacked basic infrastructure and facilities. However, the district's Superintendent of Police, Pritpal Kaur has gone beyond her call of duty to work on ground-level to solve the problems of the community and in the process, has left an indelible mark on the lives of many.
While joining for duty, the dentist-turned-IPS officer told Nagaland Page that she was excited about being given the opportunity to start the work from scratch.
"I expect only cooperation from the public, nothing else," Pritpal said.
The officer planned to channelise her efforts towards serving society by prioritising three things— imposing a stringent check on alcohol consumption and drug abuse among the youth, monitoring law and order situation as the district was located on a border-sensitive area, and empowering the youth by giving them access to quality education.
Providing Free Coaching
Pritpal had qualified for the civil services exam in 2016 and is well aware of the drill that goes into cracking one of the toughest examinations. She decided to help the civil services aspirants in their preparation and reached out to them through social media and started conducting classes with some officers of the police and civil administration.
According to The New Indian Express, she turned the conference hall of the SP's office into a classroom and organises classes for as many as 30 students. The report states that several of the attendees were employed and sought help for preparation.
"Noklak shares a border with Myanmar and is, perhaps, the remotest district in the country. It lacks infrastructure. I thought I can take my time off in the morning and conduct classes to give them some direction in life," Pritpal said.
She also took it upon herself to equip the students with necessary reading material. She spends a part of her salary to buy books and hand over to the students. The attendees also have to sit for regular examinations. Apart from the civil services exam, they are prepared for SSC, CAPF, bank and state-level departmental exams.
"The students here are very talented but financial constraints and the lack of opportunities create hurdles on their path of success. So, we decided to provide equal opportunity to them so that they can excel in their lives and future. Empowered students make an empowered society," said Pritpal.
Tackling Drug Menace
Substance abuse has been a rampant phenomenon due to the district's proximity to international borders. To tackle the menace, Pritpal formed an anti-drug squad and involved the locals, NGOs and church leaders.
She reportedly has been visiting schools and churches to educate children and students on the harmful effects of drug addiction. She believes that love and empathy can be the tools of change and has counselled drug addicts.
Over 100 drug addicts are currently undergoing treatment and Pritpal has counselled them on their addiction and roped in livelihood generating programmes.
"As their SP, whenever people knock at my door, I'll never say no. They'll always be welcome. We're family now. I'm 3000 km away from my family. So now, Noklak becomes my family."
Solving Problems On Ground-Zero
SP Pritpal and her team have also been imparting lessons to the farmers on sustainable agricultural solutions.
"We visit villages and teach locals how to do farming. There are some self-help groups here. We invited people from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra and seeds of six vegetables were given to the villagers. They were also imparted lessons on scientific farming. I have sent 21 farmers to Dimapur (state's commercial hub) to learn food processing and they will become master trainers. They will teach every villager," the officer said.
They are working towards promoting their agriculture and products, teaching them scientific farming and food processing and encouraging the dropouts to take to entrepreneurship.
The locals consume betel leaf and nut. As it can lead to oral cancer, she, being a dentist, conducts sessions and educates them on how they can maintain dental hygiene.
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