Odisha shows the way in tackling COVID-19
The most dangerous Coronavirus has practically taken the entire world in its grip. Almost all the countries are struggling hard to escape from the virulent wrath of this pandemic. In this context, Odisha, under the leadership of charismatic Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has shown the way as to how to tackle this virus and minimise its effect.
Most of the countries including mighty USA, UK , France, Germany, Spain etc are now the worst victims of Covid-19. The twin problems with them are: lack of preparedness in pre-break of pandemic and complete mismanagement in post-break period but the situation in India in general and Odisha in particular is in variance with that of the other countries and states. Though India (including Odisha) is also victim of Covid-19, life loss and destruction is lesser than the other affected countries/states. This has happened solely due to prompt, timely action and diligence of government at the Centre and the state of Odisha.
Among all the states of India, the effect of Covid-19, in terms of number of affected and number of deaths, has been the minimum in Odisha, whereas the number of the cured is much higher in the state, and credit goes to Chief Minister Naveen Babu, well assisted by the team of trusted and able officers. The success can be attributed to acumen acquired from the experience of handling various natural calamities like floods, cyclones and drought. Disaster mitigation and management machinery of Odisha is well oiled and ever ready to cope with any adverse situation.
Ever since the outbreak of Covid-19, Odisha government, particularly CM Naveen has pressed his dedicated team into action. Bypassing ministers, MLAs/MPs and politicians, he has reposed his faith in his bureaucratic team consisting of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Jena, Health Secretary Nikunja Kishor Dhal (now replaced by Pradipta Mohapatra), BMC Commissioner Prem Chand Choudhary, DG Police Abhay, well coordinated by 5T Secretary V.K Pandian and assisted by Chief Spokesperson of Corona Management Team Subrat Bagchi. Though healthcare infrastructure in Odisha is not so good, the decision of the government to open special Covid hospitals at scores of places is working wonders. Owing to care and treatment at these Covid hospitals, the rate of the cured patients in Odisha is higher and the number of death is limited to only 2.
Odisha is implementing the lockdown policy of the Centre very decisively. It is noteworthy that Odisha was the first state in India to declare lockdown 2.0.
Another praiseworthy decision of the government is to spread the network of institutional quarantine centres upto Gram-Panchayat level. For this purpose, Sarpanchs have been delegated the power of District Magistrate and adequate funds have been allocated to them. One can find quarantine centres in each and every Panchayat. To boost the morale of corona warriors, the government has declared insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh each for them.
Though initially the number of Covid infected persons was very negligible in Odisha, people returning from Nizamuddin (Delhi), West Bengal and Surat (Gujarat) compounded the situation and contributed to the rise of graph of the infected persons. But now the situation is under control. Migrant labours returning from outside states are being registered and put in the quarantine centres at their native blocks and villages. This is meant to debarring them from mingling with general public and making them infected. In spite of fiascos and mismanagement at some odd places, the overall situation is under control in the state. As the quantity and quality of the Covid test is improving day by day, so also is the number of infected persons rising. But the experts opine that this is not alarming.
This is how the Odisha government and CM Naveen Babu have stolen the march over their counterparts in other states. In fact, Naveen Patnaik has become the role model for others so far as the question of tacking pandemic Covid-19 is concerned.
By Shiva Narayan Singh from Bhubaneswar
(The writer is former Editor, Rastradeep)