SHUTDOWN-LOCKDOWN-UNLOCKDOWN-RELOCKDOWN

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[ODISHA NEWS LETTER : SANGRAM PANDA]    

Rattled by an unprecedented spike on covid-19 case the Odisha government has announced a strict relockdown for four districts and one municipal corporation.

This is not a complete lockdown in the state but a strict lockdown in certain areas to contain the spread of corona virus. The state government order says this restriction will remain applicable to Cuttack, Khurdha, Ganjam, Jajpur districts and Rourkela Municipal Corporation.

The state chief secretary Asit Tripathy said this lockdown restriction decision was taken in view of the rapid rise in cases and high case load in the four districts and one municipal corporation area. As high as 66 percent of the total cases of the state are from Ganjam, Khurdha, Cuttack, Jajpur district while 90 percent of the +ve cases in Sundergarh district have been reported from Rourkela Municipal Corporation.

Congress spokes person Sudarsan Das raised concern about +ve cases and testing levels in Odisha. He also urged the state government to ramp up testing and implement aggressive surveillance contact tracing and containment measures.

The decision of imposing relockdown in four districts and one municipal corporation has left may speculating about the government initiating such a measure when knowing fully well that by bringing the migrants back and unlocking everything will give a spike to the virus and will create a chaotic situation.

The sanction of the government to open liquor shops without any preparation resulted in a large queues and violation of social distancing norm. Doctors and Health experts are of the opinion that community transmission has started.

By bringing the migrants by Bus, Train and Air is another blunder of the state government. It could have solved by some other way. Unlocking everything from A to Z coupled with the government information in television and newspaper that we are able to take care of situation which is under control created an illusion in the minds of general public.

This is not the only reason of the steep spike of Corona; there are many more untold stories.

The state government unfortunately has not initiated a state health emergency unit, which can draft specific strategies that can be followed to manage the spread of COVID-19. Health experts of repute political parties, people’s representatives are not consulted or taken into confidence. A handful burecrats decides in the Lokseva Bhawan and dictates it which is to be implemented, without knowing the ground reality. By this the Doctors, Nurses, Health workers, Police personnel, Aganwadi workers, Fire brigade others at the field are overstressed and over burdened.

Furthermore, who is Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to decide guidelines which everyone will follow. It should be the responsibility of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

Now corona virus has reached every nook and corner of Odisha and if a proper planned strategy is not followed than this lockdown, shutdown, unlockdown will not serve anything. Right now, it seems like aimless messaging by clueless bureaucrats.

Life and livelihood at cross road

Corona has exposed many a weakness. Livelihood of the poor has been destroyed. Fishing and Agriculture has taken a backseat. Road side Tiffin and teawala are in a heart breaking situation. Tourism, Handloom sector, Handicraft sector have cripple. Odisha government has announced a lot of packages to strengthening rural economy and putting the economy in fast track

Eat local, wear local, consume local has been emerging trend, an undercurrent that was waiting for a trigger to become mainstream. Can the COVID-19 be the kick to this desperately requirement? Hopefully yes. Going local is global need of this time.

The effort of the chief minister to put the rural economy in fat track is praise worthy. But will this be possible in reality? This question defies any answer. Petty politics by the implementing agency should be stopped.

For instance the agriculture department in Odisha is not doing anything for farmers. No training for farmers are conducted taking the local requirement into consideration. A state level camp or exposure visit will not benefit the farmers. By giving money to women SHG’s will not strengthen the rural economy. At the micro level the SHG members should be trained in innovative approaches, local demand and supply and local opportunities to make them self reliance. Similarly the social, security, empowerment of persons with Disability department is set up to work for the all round development of the disability persons. But nothing visibly is done. Lots of rupees are lying unspent in all the 30 districts due to personal ego problems of the officials at the district level. By this the welfare of the differently abled persons are hampered.

In Odisha only MGNREGS work is going on where as other livelihood strengthening activities have taken a back seat.

If strict necessary steps are not taken by the government than the rural economy will not change and life of the poor will be pathetic.

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