PATNA: On Thursday, Bihar reported only 66 new Covid-19 cases but the memory of the time when thousands of new infections rendered the entire health administration helpless in the state isn't an old one.
Meet Pratyay Amrit, a senior IAS officer whose role as the additional chief secretary of health was instrumental in curbing the rise of coronavirus infections during the second wave and has garnered the praise of many.
On his very first day of duty, Amrit visited all the medical colleges in Patna with a notepad in hand at a time when the infection rate in the state was extremely high.
“What was important for me was taking the first-hand stock of how prepared we were to fight the pandemic. I went around almost every major medical college and hospital and drew a comprehensive blueprint for waging battle against the pandemic along with team members and consent of the government,” he said, adding that if a man takes any challenges on a mission mode, success is bound to come.
He left his daily routine behind and devoted all his attention to addressing the covid menace in the state.
“Hundreds of calls were being attended by me besides other colleagues. Everyone in the department took the pandemic as a challenge worked as bravely as warriors fight to save the people,” Amrit said, who is also known as the turnaround man of Bihar CM.
Born in Bihar’s Gopalganj district on July 7 in 1967, he studied at St Stephen’s College and became an IAS officer of the 1991 batch with a slew of credits to him in performances.
Popularly called “an IPS in physique and an IAS by brain”, Pratyay Amrit is the man behind the state’s success in taming the pandemic, and he was the first DM in Katihar to implement a public-private partnership for the district hospital.
He was also regarded as a "tough" DM in Saran when he banned obscene shows in theatres in Asia’s famous Sonepur fair and made the installation of CCTV cameras there mandatory.
Fond of learning languages, he also learned Santhali during his probation as an IAS officer in Dumka in undivided Bihar.
In 2020, after being appointed as health secretary, he worked comprehensively to revive the health wings of the state.
“Oxygen plants are being set up in 123 places across the state and Bihar is almost sufficient to meet oxygen needs should there be a third wave. We have every system in order in the department and now massive works are being carried out from recruitments of health personnel to the systematic development of infrastructures,” he claimed.
He also conceptualised the 'Tika Express' vans and many vaccination sites.
“Now, in flooded areas also, the vaccination boats are carried out without obstructions to meet the target. We have made many times records in single-day vaccination and have set a target of vaccinating 6 crore people in 6 months,” he said.
On being asked about the key to responsible covid-19 management, he said: “Management, response times, and comprehensive move to cover almost all areas falling under vulnerable categories".
Adding that the administration has engaged many competent officers in the fight against the pandemic right from monitoring vaccines to, mobilisation of resources, man-management activities, and so on.
"And thanks to their collective efforts, now cases of Covid positive have reduced to 88 and many districts are reporting zero cases,” he said.
In 2011, he was also awarded the Prime Minister’s Excellence Award in public administration in individual categories besides many awards including one by the Election Commission of India.
The zeal to serve the people, the state, and the nation as a good citizen with whatever responsibility has been assigned to me by the nation keeps him motivated at all times, he added.