While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the country to a standstill, some states fare better than others to combat this deadly virus. The Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Keshav Prasad Maurya, while talking to IANS on the current situation in the state, said: “The situation here is far better than Delhi, Maharashtra or Rajasthan despite having one of the largest populations in the country, our numbers (of positive Covid-19 cases) is much less than several other states. That is the efficiency of our government and our effective implementation of Centre’s directives on ground.” There were apprehensions regarding Uttar Pradesh as it is one of the most densely populated states in India with a questionable history of dealing with pandemics. However, much to the surprise of these experts, the Yogi Adityanath government worked in mission mode to successfully control the virus.
“Strong leadership of Modiji and his concern for Uttar Pradesh has changed the perception of our state. We now set the example for other states to follow. Regarding our fight against the virus, I feel that the Yogi government implemented each of the directives passed by the Prime Minister, both in letter and spirit,” said Keshav Prasad Maurya. He added, “Our numbers would not have crossed the 2,000-mark. The figure would have been much less but for the way the Tablighi Jamaat members brought the disease here has been an unfortunate part. Their conduct had been very disappointing for us. They (Jamaat) deeply dented our plans to contain the virus in the state. Despite such odds, we have managed to control it.” While many districts in the state have been in the green zone, the pandemic just slipped out of the hands of the Agra administration. When asked what went wrong in that top tourist spot, the deputy CM said that one of the reasons was obviously the Tablighi Jamaat, whose members were instrumental in spreading the virus. Secondly, a private hospital in Agra mismanaged the show.
“The carelessness on part of the hospital management cost us dearly. But the government acted in time. We constituted a three-member committee comprising a Principal Secretary-level officer, an ADG-level police officer and a senior health officer to take stock of the situation. The committee has contained the spread (of the coronavirus) in Agra to considerable extent,” said Keshav Prasad Maurya, known for effective planning and execution of large scale projects. During the nation-wide lockdown, Uttar Pradesh was one of the few states which provided jobs to labourers and skilled workers by launching government-run construction projects. On being asked about the scale of job opportunities and nature of work, Maurya revealed that over 1 lakh skilled and unskilled labourers have been provided jobs. “I am heading a Committee of Ministers-related to the construction work. We decided that apart from road construction, projects related to urban development, or water works can be started in districts which do not fall under the red zone.
We followed all protocols related to health safety…we provided masks, sanitisers on the site to the workers. Used thermal scanning to identify any suspected carrier of COVID. The construction at various sites is now in full swing. Despite a difficult situation these decisions are bearing good results,” Maurya, who holds the important portfolio of PWD, said. Replying to a question on community kitchens being run by PWD across the state, he said that a decision by PWD employees was taken to serve the poor during the lockdown. “I requested our staff that we should do something for the underprivileged who have been finding it difficult to feed their families. Within days, the PWD employees decided to start serving food, ration to the needy.
Gradually such community kitchens started operating in all the 75 districts,” he added. When asked how many people were being provided food daily at these kitchens, Maurya replied, “It is a good work done by the state employees. However, serving the poor is more important than counting their numbers.” For deputy CM Maurya, bringing back migrant labourers from every corner of the country is a priority. “Several trains will be run. Arrangements to carry them (labourers) to their respective villages are being done. Proper guidelines of the Health Ministry are being followed. Quarantine centres have been established to adhere to such guidelines. We assure that UP will take best care of its workers,” said Maurya.