Amidst the rising coronavirus cases in Maharashtra of India where the state has already started its preparation to tackle the third wave of the infection, the youngest sarpanch of a village in Solapur district has managed to keep its village Covid free.
The implementation of a programme for ingraining a sense of responsibility among people was the main motive of the sarpanch, Ruturaj Deshmukh.
The 21-year-old sarpanch is the sarpanch of Ghatne village of Solapur which has a population of around 1500 people. The village had not reported any COVID-19 cases from March 2020 to April 2021.
However, in the first week of April, two COVID-19 cases were reported which lead them to death. Due to this, the people were panic-stricken and many of them started leaving their homes to live in their farms.
At this stage, Deshmukh decided to involve all stakeholders and create awareness about fighting coronavirus. He reportedly formed his team and framed a five-point programme involving contact tracing, testing, treatment, vaccination and adherence to COVID- appropriate behaviour.
The villagers whose oxygen level was found to be below 92 were being shifted to either isolation centres or to COVID Care Centres in Mohol taluka that is around 4 km away from the village.
Corona safety kits comprising a face mask, hand sanitiser, disinfectant, and vitamin tablets, were supplied to the people. A steam machine was also kept at the gram panchayat office which can be used by anybody during emergency.
The residents who need to travel outside the village for work are randomly tested while outsiders coming to the village are quarantined for three days and need to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test.
In order to inculcate discipline in people, police personnel were deployed in the village to ensure that the Covid appropriate norms are followed. People who were found without wearing a mask were also being slapped with fines.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had lauded Deshmukh’s contribution and appealed to all sarpanch in the state to draw inspiration in the Covid battle during his virtual address to the people on Sunday. He also announced “My Village Corona Free” initiative.