MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced a "corona free village" contest with an aim to encourage steps to curb the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas of the state.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recently lauded efforts made by some villages to stem the spread of the viral infection and announced the "My Village Corona Free" initiative.
The "corona free village" contest is part of the initiative announced by the chief minister, state Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif said in a statement.
Prizes will be given to three village panchayats doing good work in COVID-19 management in each revenue division.
The first prize will be of Rs 50 lakh, second of Rs 25 lakh and third of Rs 15 lakh, the minister said.
There are six revenue divisions in the state, hence there will be a total of 18 prizes.
The total prize money is Rs 5.4 crore, he said.
The villages which win the contest will also get an additional amount equivalent to the prize money as encouragement, and itwill be utilised for development works in those villages, the minister said.
The participating villages will be judged on 22 criteria, he said, adding that a committee will be set up to judge the villages.
Thackeray in a virtual address on Sunday lauded Ruturaj Deshmukh (21), the youngest sarpanch in Maharashtra, and his task force to keep their Ghatne village in Solapur district free of coronavirus.
On Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded 14,123 new COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 57,61,015, while 477 fresh deaths and another 377 deaths previously unreported pushed the fatality count to 96,198, as per official data.