As the COVID wave gradually shifts to rural areas, several states are gearing up to check its spread through self-proclaimed lockdowns by Panchayati Raj institutions, creating a database of migrants and providing free online medical consultation to the sick.
The initiatives have been taken by states in consultation with the Centre to stop the virus from spreading further in villages, government sources said.
Among the measures include imposition of self-proclaimed lockdown by Panchayati Raj institutions in Gujarat and creation of migrant database for capturing the return of migrants in panchayats both from within and outside in Assam, besides announcing formulation of village defence parties.
Himachal Pradesh has started ‘eSanjeevani OPD’ for providing free online medical consultation to sick people and the launch of Kudumbashree Community Network in Kerala, a joint programme of the Government of Kerala implemented through Community Development Societies (CDSs) of poor women, serving as the community wing of local governments.
Kerala has started a transportation plan by providing ambulances in each gram panchayat to support the health system besides providing two chambered cars and auto rickshaws for the needy.
Periodic awareness programmes, setting up of village monitoring committee and specific quarantine/isolation centres for migrant labourers have been set up in Haryana.
Door-to-door surveillance using pulse oximeter, temperature guns and antigen test kits and setting up of gram yoddha samiti in villages for supporting families of patients have also been set up in Gujarat.
States like Andhra Pradesh have announced formulation of Corona Kattadi (monitoring) Committee and gram panchayats in the states have passed resolutions of “No mask no entry”, besides initiating proactive sanitation and door-to-door surveillance.
Uttar Pradesh has set up village ‘nigrani samiti’ in all gram panchayats with focus on promoting cleanliness, while Uttarakhand has set up village monitoring committees (VMC) and formation of block response team at the block level to ensure and monitor proper deliverables.
A 24×7 help desk system has also been set up by the directorate of Panchayati Raj in the state.
West Bengal is undertaking an awareness programmes in panchayats with the help of NGOs and self help groups and is enabling safe operations of local markets/haats, besides smooth distribution of food grains to the poor under PDS.
In Madhya Pradesh, containment zones have been set up in villages with high rate of infections and villages have been divided in Red, Orange and Green zones based on number of active COVID patients. Control rooms have also been established at the block, district and state level.
Similarly, Maharashtra has initiated ‘My Family My Responsibility awareness campaign; and formed Corona Prevention Committee, besides carrying out door-to-door surveillance.
In Punjab, village monitoring committees (VMC) have been set up in each village, which are also organising ‘thikri pehras’ to ensure night curfew is not violated.
Rajasthan is distributing medical kits daily in many rural areas.
Arunachal Pradesh has issued advisories to all district commissioners on widespread sanitisation of public places, formulation of village monitoring committees and initiation of community involvement and awareness programmes.
In Bihar, a drive for mask distribution among all families in villages and local procurement of masks to promote employment has been initiated.
Health experts and authorities have called for emulation of such measures by other states to help break the chain of coronavirus.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has also issued advisories to states towards management of COVID-19 at the village level and requested states to take effective actions to respond to the spread of the pandemic in rural areas.
India added 3,62,727 new coronavirus infections in a day taking the COVID-19 tally of cases to 2,37,03,665, while the death toll rose to 2,58,317 with 4,120 daily fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data.