The News Scroll 23 April 2020  Last Updated at 6:44 pm | Source: PTI

Odisha puts Panchayats at forefront to fight infection after stranded migrants rush back home

Odisha puts Panchayats at forefront to fight infection after stranded migrants rush back home
(Repeating with edits) Bhubaneswar, Apr 23 (PTI) The Odisha government has put the village level authorites at the forefront to prevent spread of coronavirus when an anticipated five lakh migrants rush back home after lifting of the lockdown. In order to make the local administration battle-ready, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Wednesday delivered oath to over 6000 village heads that they will ensure that the returnees don''t carry with them the disease as many of them would be travelling from the COVID 19 hit states. The state government has already bestowed on the power of district collector to Sarpanchs (village headmen) so that they can take tough decisions for better management of COVID- 19 situation in the areas under their jurisdiction. "We have decided to put Panchayats at the forefront to ensure that the highly infectious virus do not spread in rural areas," Panchayati Raj department minister Pratap Jena told reporters after the Group of Ministers meeting on coronavirus situation here Thursday. Around 6798 Sarpanchs who took oath the previous day, promised they would implement the guidelines of the state government on COVID-19. The state government''s concerns over return of the migrant workers have been expressed by COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi. Since the large number of people will return to rural areas after lockdown, the village heads (Sarpanchs) have a major role to play in identifying and putting them in quarantine at the gram panchayat levels, he said. He said though the state has successfully contained outbreak of the disease in Odisha in the three initial stages, the return of about 5 lakh people to the state will be a big challenge. Giving detail of the strategy, Panchayati Raj department Secretary D K Singh said like mandatory registration of foreign travellers, the state government has made this compulsory for those returning from other states too after the end of nationwide shutdown. Besides, they would be subjected to 14 days isolation on arrival to their villages, he said. "No one will be allowed to enter Odisha without registration and all returnees will undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine", the panchayat raj secretary said. Singh justified mandatory quarantine for the returnees refering to reports that 80 per cent of the COVID-19 patients in different parts of the country did not show any symptoms of the infection. He said the state government has already made arrangements for placing them in quarantine at the panchayat levels. We have already created two lakh beds facilities for quarantine of the returnees at panchayat levels. Another three lakh beds will be put in place before May 3 (end of lockdown as per the present order), Singh said, adding the returnees will be received by the government from railway stations and bus stands. They cannot directly go to their house. The local level officers will receive the returnees and take them to panchayat quarantine centres where they will be provided stay, food and treatment, Singh said. Since most of the returnees belong to the working class, the government has decided to give each of them Rs 2,000 as incentive money on completion of 14-day quarantine period, Singh said, adding a nodal officer will be appointed for each gram panchayats. This apart, the Block Development Officers (BDOs) are also told to set up a 5-member monitoring team for every panchayat, he added. PTI AAM SNS SNS

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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