By, Sayak Karmakar
Gyan Ranjan Das, Collector of Bhadrak
The COVID virus has halted life in the entire world. Yet, humanity(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch) cannot stand still, or else it will cease to exist. While coronavirus creates havoc- humanity is starting to normalize in abnormal conditions and is getting attuned to the ‘new normal’.
In these times, the work of a district collector becomes more crucial than ever. They have to look after the normalcy of citizens living and also keep a check on the rising graph of Covid cases(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch).
Interview Times had an exclusive interaction with Mr Gyan Ranjan Das(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch), collector of Bhadrak District. A soft-spoken person with a never say die attitude, Mr Das conversed about their collective effort as a team to control COVID cases in Bhadrak.
Below, edited excerpts of the interview:-
How has Bhadrak district maintained the threat of spreading COVID 19 infection so far?
I think we as a team have done incredibly well in preventing COVID virus from spreading rapidly in our district. If you look at the statistics, since May, there are negligible local cases of COVID 19(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch).
When the Central Government and the Supreme Court decided to shift the migrant workers back to their state (a very right decision), in that day itself, we decided to make two quarantine centres. Till date, more than 30,000 migrant workers have been accompanied in those two quarantine centres.
One quarantine centre is earmarked for migrants who are coming via road. And, there is one quarantine centre reserved for migrants coming through trains. For them, there is no question of home quarantine.
They have to serve the 15 days quarantine period at the COVID(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch) centre, with proper testing and health care facilities. With this, there is no chance that an infected migrant person will meet the citizens of the state which will help to contain the spread of the virus.
I also have to thank my surveillance team of 117 workers who are working day in and day out at these centres for ensuring that all the migrant workers get well soon with zero casualties.
How have you and your authorities supported the “Corona Warriors” during this critical time?
We have followed no hierarchical system when it comes to reporting of matters of serious concern. People at the lowest level of the hierarchy can directly call me or any other higher officials if they face any problems or want to report any serious issues related to the Corona Virus issue(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch).
Moreover, we have also deputed senior officials at every block level so that every worker can directly talk to them if he/she faces any difficulties.
Besides, we try to compensate for the hardworking Anganwadi workers by giving them due credit for their work. We select the best worker and send their name to the CMO’s office for a letter of appreciation. Sometimes, a tap on the back also creates wonders.
How are you planning to manage the unlock phase, especially when the first phase has already started?
Yes, as you rightly said, the unlock phase has already started. However, one thing is quite strange. During the initial period of lockdown, when the cases were negligible, people had a great fear about the coronavirus. However, now when the cases are high, and the unlock phase has started, I assume people think that corona(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch) has swept away from the world.
To tackle this, we are ensuring door to door services where our workers will make people understand the importance of staying at home as the corona is still there and is creating havoc in the world.
We are ensuring that there is proper education of sanitizing, social distancing, and wearing masks when people go out. We can easily extract a fine of Rs 500. However, that sum might be daily income for a street vendor. Therefore our main vision is to educate rather than to punish.
What’s your back up plan if the virus starts spreading rapidly?
We have guidelines given by the government to follow in case the virus starts spreading rapidly. We will mark ourselves as containment zones, and will also increase COVID(Combating Corona with a Humane Touch), care workers, from 117 to 1200. Our main motto is to stop community transmission.
Any advice for people of Bhadrak during this unlocking period?
My biggest advice- Stay at Home and keep corona out. Until and unless it’s entirely necessary, do not go out.