By, Dibyajit Sahoo
Saroj Samal, Collector & District Magistrate of Jharsuguda
It was absolutely a pleasant revelation to learn how a local administration in Jharsuguda district was able to collect fines worth more than Rs 25 lakh during COVID from the errant commuters not wearing masks on roads and spitting in public.
When contacted, the District Collector Mr Saroj Samal spoke about the figures and expressed thanks to the district police department and personally to the District Superintendent of Police- Mr Ashwini for sensitizing the importance of wearing masks as well not spitting in public which may lead to community transmission amongst the common commuters of Jharsuguda district, jeopardising their lives.
Adding to that, the collector informed that 11 lakhs local made masks were distributed in their localities where most industrial houses had taken the responsibility to offer the SHGs of their peripheral areas to stitch masks to get employed.
Thereafter, they distributed all the masks among the citizens with the help of the local government. You can call it achieving dual success at one stroke.
Even the district magistrate distinctly shared the mammoth work done by their administration to contain the global pandemic COVID and not allowing community transmission in Jharsuguda, one of the most culturally diverse districts of Odisha.
As you know Jharsuguda is an industrial belt where hundreds of thousands of personnel come to pursue their livelihoods.
Five daily flights operate on a daily basis in the Jharsuguda airport as well two daily trains station at Jharsuguda from the most affected COVID states- Maharashtra and Gujarat (Ahmedabad). Still, the residents of Jharsuguda were affected the least.
The rule book of quarantine is intact whoever the returnees are. Also, no one is allowed to walk barefoot in our district else he faces quarantining or offensive punishment, Samal said.
This is possible because of our State bureaucrats for their forecasting well in advance before the virulent pandemic spread out. Again their alertness in sharing updates with us has ensured us not to get panicked but to work leaving no stone.
On a personal note, I have suggested to all my people that this is indeed a tough time for the district and we pledge not to allow the turbulent virus to affect our innocent citizens.
Hence, we conformed to all norms of social distancing and wore masks unfailingly with zero tolerance for violators. To this date, the district administration has been ruthless in implementation of the lockdown and unlocking guidelines.
“For me, it was like enhancing the official work closer to our heart. Today, we are having 117 COVID hospitals in operations and another 100 hospitals are readied with all infra setup to get active once we find the circumstantial posturing of COVID impact negatively. More or less as the DM of this district, I can proudly say that the people of Jharsuguda are more of the sensible and educated ones. As a result, we are having a marginal number of COVID affected patients despite the diversification in population. It was a bit challenging but encouraging to bolster the COVID warriors from doctors to paramedical staff in this severe pandemic”, Samal said.