Deep Dive: Amid Covid gloom, virus-proofed villages of India bring glimmer of hope

The second wave of Covid-19 has unfold its lethal shadow over the heartland of India. Making issues worse is the dearth of primary healthcare infrastructure in these rural areas.

Earlier this month, an SBI analysis flagged that the rise in rural penetration is a “worrying trend”. The share of rural districts in new circumstances elevated to 48.5 per cent in May from 36.8 per cent in March, stated the report.

But amid the pall of gloom, there’s a glimmer of hope. Some villages throughout the nation have managed to maintain themselves Covid-free, marking a exceptional journey for the reason that pandemic started.

One such village is within the Supaul district of Bihar. Kataiya village, about 15 kilometres from the district headquarters of Supaul, has not witnessed a single constructive case within the final over a 12 months of the pandemic. Reason: it diligently adopted the Covid tips.

India Today visited this village to learn the way it has remained free of the virus regardless of surge in circumstances, particularly in rural Bihar.

BIHAR: Committee to maintain Covid away

What’s attention-grabbing is the truth that native youth on this village have fashioned a committee which has taken upon the job to maintain the village virus-free.

The foremost street resulting in the village stays barricaded 24×7. Nobody is allowed to go away the village until and till it’s excessive significance. Likewise, no outsider is allowed to enter this village. An individual is allowed within the village solely after he’s correctly sanitised and is carrying a masks.

“Every day the youth of this village carry out sanitisation of every household. We do not allow anyone from outside to enter the village unless and until they are tested,” said Naveen Kumar, a local.

Many people from the village work outside the state. But even if they are returning, they are not allowed to enter this village unless and until they are tested and found negative. If the person is found to be positive, he is quarantined at the local government facility and allowed inside the village only after the quarantine period is over.

The villagers have also decided to not organise any kind of public events, including weddings, to avoid public gathering.

The Supaul district administration has also recognised Kataiya as an example for other villages to emulate.

“People of this village have been very alert right from the beginning when coronavirus hit the country. Anyone from outside is first tested and then allowed to enter the village. This village has shown high level of self-discipline that should be emulated by other villages,” said Manish Kumar, SDM, Supaul.

ASSAM: ‘Sanitisation facility in front of every household’

India Today found another such village that stayed Covid-free simply with self-regulation. This village is in Assam’s West Karbi Anglong district. It has truly shown the way in the fight against the pandemic. There is not a single case in the village.

Shikdamakha village, also known as the cleanest village, has so far become Covid-free, escaping both the first and second waves, just with self-regulations. The village has a population of about 600.

Upping Maslai, a member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, said from children to elderly, every villager has strictly followed all Covid protocols.

“Not a single positive case has been reported in the village in last year pandemic and this year too. All villagers are very much conscious about their health and cleanliness. The villagers have also taken self-regulation measures to fight against the pandemic,” Maslai said.

On the other hand, 54-year-old Horsing Kholai, a resident of the village, said most villagers are directly involved with farming.

“Except for any extremely essential work, we don’t walk out from our village. We have made compulsory to wear mask and also made sanitisation facility in front of every household,” Kholai said.

Assam has reported 81 deaths and 6,066 new Covid-19 constructive circumstances within the final 24 hours.

KERALA: Inaccessibility a blessing in disguise

Edamalakkudy, a tribal village in Idukki district of Kerala, has thus far remained Covid-free. The village is a cluster of 28 settlements inhabiting more than 3,000 people. This is also the first tribal gram panchayat in the state.

When the pandemic unleashed its fury last year, the village administration imposed strict lockdown in Edamalakkudy.

Situated deep inside Munnar forest division, lack of accessibility has been a blessing in disguise for this village. The village is over 40km away from Munnar town and can be accessed only through the treacherous forest trekking.

The rains and landslides of 2020 destroyed the roads, further disrupting commute. Apart from this, the local administration had made it mandatory for local residents who come back from the town to undergo strict quarantine.

UTTAR PRADESH: Camaraderie works here

There is news of relief from Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh too. Semari village in Azamgarh district survived both the Covid waves as not a single positive case was reported in the entire pandemic.

Situated 90km away from the district on the banks of a river, the village has a population of more than 1,000 people. The source of livelihood here is mainly fishing.

Dashrath Nishad, a prominent personality of Semari, told India Today, “No one in my village is positive. Everyone follows social distancing, and all wear masks. Villagers survive on fish, cereals, vegetables, etc, which they grow themselves. As they are self-sufficient, this helps them avoid crowded areas for daily needs. Even if somebody needs to go to market, he gets household stuff for other families as well. Since our village is on the banks of a river, the environment is healthy.”

In order to curb the spread of the virus in rural India, the Union ministry of Panchayati Raj recently wrote to all the state governments to take preventive measures. The ministry in its letter suggested states to sensitise and facilitate the panchayats/rural local bodies towards meeting the challenge and providing leadership.

The SBI report estimated that among the top 15 worst-hit rural districts, six are from Maharashtra, five from Andhra Pradesh, two from Kerala and one each from Karnataka and Rajasthan.

(With inputs from Rajiv Kumar)

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