Aizawl, May 17 : Mizorams Power and Electricity Minister, R. Lalzirliana (71), has been captured in a video where he could be seen mopping floors at the Zoram Medical College and Hospital (ZMCH), where he, his wife and son are undergoing treatment for Covid-19 since last week.
The septuagenarian minister not only earned appreciation for cleaning the floor, but also received kudos for sharing his meal with other Covid infected patients undergoing treatment in the state's lone dedicated Covid-19 hospital.
Talking to IANS over phone from the ZMCH, the tribal leader said that washing clothes and mopping the floor are not new to him as he used to do such chores at his home and at other places, including during his visits outside the state.
Lalzirliana said due to the alarming spread of the contagious virus, the hospital's sweeping staff did not come last week, and that's why he did the job as he is now recovering from the disease.
Lalzirliana, who also holds Land Resources, Water Conservations, Arts and Culture and Minority Affairs portfolios, said: "My intention to clean the floor of my hospital ward was not to embarrass the doctors, nurses and other health workers. I want to inspire others by performing our responsibility." A senior leader of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), Lalzirliana said that first his son had tested positive for Covid-19 on May 8, then his 59-year-old wife turned positive on May 11 before he was detected with the virus on May 12.
After brief isolation at home, the minister and his family members were shifted to ZMCH on May 12 when Lalzirliana was found with sudden drop in his oxygen level.
The minister, as well as the doctors at ZMCH, told IANS that all the three are now out of danger and their all health parameters are stable.
"The doctors, nurses and medical staff of ZMCH are taking good care, not only of us, but every patient. I don't like to be treated as a VIP patient. I want every patient to be given equal treatment and care.
"I believe that during my stay at the hospital, I dirtied the hospital ward. There is a shortage of sufficient workers compared to the huge requirement of staff at this pandemic period. That's why I have tried to reduce some workload of our Covid warriors," Lalzirliana said.
The minister has become very popular among the patients and hospital staff and photos of his compassionate attitude are being circulated by the patients themselves.
VVIP or VIP culture is seldom witnessed in the Christian dominated northeastern state of Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.
With a population of 1.1 million (2011 census), the second least for a state in India, Mizoram had earlier witnessed many instances of ministers, MLAs and top political leaders living like common men by performing household chores, traveling in public transport, participating in community works and serving as a cook during community feasts.
Last year, Mizoram's sitting legislator with gynaecological background, Z.R. Thiamsang, had helped a pregnant woman at the district hospital in Champhai, conducting a critical surgery to help her smoothly deliver a baby.
The only gynaecological doctor at the Champhai district hospital was on leave due to ill-health and the lawmaker volunteered to help the young woman deliver through a caesarean section.
Last week, over 410 unemployed doctors, nursing students, laboratory technicians and pharmacists in Mizoram had voluntarily agreed to assist the government in Covid management.
Around 8,829 positive cases have been detected in Mizoram so far, while the state's active caseload stood at 2,117 on Monday.
Out of Mizoram's 11 districts, only in three - Aizawl (23), Serchhip (1) and Saitual (1) - have reported deaths due to Covid-19.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at email@example.com)
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text