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Cuttack Puja bodies have no clue on involvement in coronavirus fight

The Ward 18 comprising Sutahat, Baunsagali, Odia Bazar, Dargha Bazar, Ganga Mandir, Choudhury Bazar, Banka Bazar, Tinikonia Bagicha and Gauri Shankar Park is a glaring instance.

Published: 30th June 2020 07:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2020 07:58 AM   |  A+A-

coronavirus lockdown

(For representation only) A child under coronavirus lockdown. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: Days after the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) painted an ‘All Is Well’ picture of the city and listed a slew of “proactive steps” taken to effectively manage the Covid-19 pandemic, a complete mismatch between what the civic body claimed and the ground reality has come to the fore.

Following a review of the coronavirus situation on Saturday, State Government’s Covid observer for Cuttack city Saurabh Garg had stated that the civic administration had taken several measures like formation of ward committees with involvement of local puja and sahi committees to monitor and undertake community-level surveillance. 

The CMC claimed that door to doors surveys are being conducted since April to check on every household for health conditions and screen every person for symptoms of influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).However, the situation on ground presents a completely different picture with not only the denizens but also the puja and sahi committees across many parts of the city unaware of any such exercise and even their involvement in such activities.

The Ward 18 comprising Sutahat, Baunsagali, Odia Bazar, Dargha Bazar, Ganga Mandir, Choudhury Bazar, Banka Bazar, Tinikonia Bagicha and Gauri Shankar Park is a glaring instance.

The residents of the ward are completely ignorant about existence of any ward committee for coronavirus or have experienced any activity by such a body in their area for awareness generation and prevention of the disease.

“The civic body officials are giving false information. I don’t know about formation of ward committee in my ward. If the civic body has formed a ward level committee to monitor and manage Covid-19, it should make it public”, said Sutahat resident, Rashmi Mohapatra.

There are 13 puja committees in Sutahat area. Members of most of these committees said they are not involved in the ward committees.

President of Sutahat Upar Sahi Puja Committee Lokanath Kahali said no one from CMC has contacted him so far in this regard and he is totally unaware of formation of any ward-level committee.    

Subhasish Kar, president of Sri Jay Durga Samiti, said he had heard CMC Commissioner announcing formation of ward-level committees and involvement of puja committees and sahi committees in Covid-19 management.

“However, CMC has not informed us about any such committees,” he said.

At Ranihat, where there have been two reported cases as on date, the residents are in the dark. There has been no visible action for awareness generation nor active surveillance at community level.

In April, some groups had made rounds of the locality but just noted the names of the family members and age at household-level but there was no enquiry on health condition, comorbidity status or screening for ILI or SARI.

“We have not witnessed any tangible step towards monitoring or surveillance at the community level,” said Ramakanta Das, a resident. An office-bearer of the College Square Puja Committee also expressed surprise over the claims made by the CMC.

“About 15 days back, a meeting was convened by Commissionerate police and CMC at the local police station where we were asked to keep watch on the locality and report returnees from outside. We have been doing that. But, formation of ward committees and puja committee involvement in community survey or awareness generation initiatives is news to us. We have not been informed,” he said.

Barabati-Cuttack MLA Mohammad Moquim said the civic body should indulge in less propaganda and make people aware about maintaining social distancing, hand sanitising and wearing masks to keep the coronavirus at bay. There should be strict crackdown on violations, he stated.

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