Chhattisgarh shows the way to fight Coronavirus

Of the 59 Covid-19 cases recorded in the state till 14 May, all but three have been cured and no life has succumbed to the pandemic.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel
Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh is a riding a wave of success due to its timely and action-oriented decisions to fight Covid-19. It is being seen as a model state owing to its efficient plans followed up with effective implementation. As on 14 May, the state had only 59 cases and of these, 56 patients have recovered. Not even a single life has been lost to coronavirus.  

The state ensured livelihood amid lockdown through the collection of 98% forest produce. Chhattisgarh stood first in employing villagers under MNREGA amid lockdown. On average, over 20 lakh people are getting jobs from the gram panchayats of the state.

Its unemployment rate is at 3.4% which is much less than that of the whole country (23.5%) as per the latest report released by CMIE. Soon after the first Covid-19 patient was identified in Chhattisgarh, hoardings were installed in all major cities by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, affirming: “If you are reading this, then, kindly return home.” All these precautionary measures were initiated when the nationwide lockdown was not even implemented; that shows resilience, vigilance and alertness of the state government.

All the boundaries of the state were sealed as soon as the first corona patient was identified. A public awareness campaign was initiated regarding Covid-19 threat which had a lasting impact on villages inside remote Bastar. People sealed their villages by installing bamboo-bullion barriers and even postponed the traditional rooster market.

On the health front, AIIMS-Raipur was equipped with the necessary facilities and experienced doctors for the war against coronavirus. Medical infrastructure was also strengthened throughout the state to meet the increasing need over time. Treatment facility for Covid-19 was expanded in eight more hospitals.

A 500-bed Covid-19 ward has been prepared at Mekahara and the Mana Civil Hospital at Raipur was transformed into a 100-bed Covid-19 hospital. Quarantine, special care of public health and facilities during isolation proved to be an effective strategy to curb and prevent the infection. Quarantined people are routinely screened and their activities are regularly monitored.

Around 150 quarantine centres with a capacity of 3,206 people have been set up and as of 13 May, 633 people were placed there. Coronavirus infection has imposed social and economic challenges along with health challenges. To ease the situation for lower and middle classes, the state government distributed 105 kg rice free of cost to 56.55 lakh families for three months.

The ration is provided to the non-ration cardholders also, two quintals of rice have been kept in all gram panchayats, urban bodies to support the needy. Around 44% of the land area of Chhattisgarh is forested. To ensure smooth livelihood for people living in these areas, constant collection and timely payment of forest produce were ensured. The state government is in constant touch with the migrant labourers of Chhattisgarh trapped in other states.

To provide them with immediate relief, financial assistance was transferred into their accounts. Helpline number, online registration form, web portal and mobile apps are being established to ensure help. A convenient and safe return of workers is being chalked out by constantly arranging trains and buses. Around 16,013 quarantine centres have been identified to accommodate the returning labourers, with a capacity of 53,6515 workers.

Of these, over 42,350 workers have been employed so far. The state government also ensured the safe return of students trapped in Kota, Rajasthan. Amid lockdown, along with the regular supply of essential commodities in the urban areas, the livelihood of the farmers continued as they were allowed to work in enclosures and fields. Online learning via C.G. government education portal “Padhai Tuhar Dwar” became become a boon for lakhs of children, with 21.26 lakh students and 1.88 lakh teachers registered on it.

Under the crop insurance and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, Rs 900 crore has been transferred to the farmers’ accounts. Under the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana starting from 21 May, the amount of exchange assistance at the rate of Rs 10 thousand per acre for paddy, maize and sugarcane (rabi) crops based on the area registered and acquired in Kharif 2019 will be transferred to the accounts. The state government has made a provision of Rs 5,100 crore for it.

The writer is Commissioner and Director, Public Relations Department of Chhattisgarh Government