Kabaddi champ Pankaj Shirsat helps migrant movement in Thane

Updated: May 14, 2020, 07:31 IST | Subodh Mayure | Mumbai

Shirsat, an Assistant Commissioner of Police with the Vartak Nagar Division in Thane, is on field duty, helping citizens in their battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACP Pankaj Shirsat (white mask) along with his team interact with migrant labourers at Majiwada Bus Station in Thane yesterday
ACP Pankaj Shirsat (white mask) along with his team interact with migrant labourers at Majiwada Bus Station in Thane yesterday

Former India kabaddi captain Pankaj Shirsat, who led the country to the World Cup title in 2007, is currently serving the nation on a different front.

Shirsat, an Assistant Commissioner of Police with the Vartak Nagar Division in Thane, is on field duty, helping citizens in their battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the last four days, Shirsat and his colleagues have helped facilitate the movement of over 4000 migrant labourers back to their home state, Madhya Pradesh, through 160 Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses.

Shirsat, 40, had two more former sportsmen—senior police inspector Anil Deshmukh and State Transport Controller Nishigandh Gaikwad—helping him in the tough task. Deshmukh has represented Pune University in cricket and volleyball, while Gaikwad was a state-level wrestler.

Pankaj Shirsat
Pankaj Shirsat

"We tracked people, who were walking back to their home state [Madhya Pradesh], took down their details like Aadhar card, contact number etc and then arranged free bus services—from Thane to Dhule district, near MP's border. Some NGOs also provided lunch and dinner packets for their journey," Shirsat told mid-day on Wednesday.

When asked how he and his team are coping with the situation, given many police personnel are also affected by the Coronavirus, Shirsat, said that his characteristics as a sportsman are helping him tide over these tough times. "Being a sportsman, I decided to take this up as a challenge given my physical ability to fight against all odds. I feel it's my duty to serve the needy," said Shirsat, whose Indian team beat Iran in the 2007 Kabaddi World Cup final at Panvel.

Gaikwad hailed Shirsat's decision-making ability. "He [Shirsat] has handled this tense situation very well and ensured that none of the 4000-plus migrant labourers were inconvenienced. It is thanks to his planning that we were able to safely transport such a large group in quick time," said Gaikwad.

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