RAIPUR : At Ambikapur Collectorate most officers and staff would prefer using a face mask given by Ajay Agrawal, popularly known as Mask-Man of north Chhattisgarh.With a missionary zeal, Agrawal (52) is creating awareness that mask is the best bet against Covid.
“All are protected best when everyone wears a face mask since we all face a staggering spike in cases in the second wave,” he said.
While health professionals and celebrities are often seen urging people to wear mask, Agrawal moves around distributing masks for free as a part of his daily routine since the pandemic struck in March last year.
Based in Ambikapur town, he has so far distributed over 55,000 masks.
He sets out daily on his motorbike carrying some 200 masks and is quick to provide one to anyone found not wearing it or using a worn-out stuff.
He visits the collectorate, government and private offices, railway station, busy market areas and other public places and offers masks at the roadside.
Agrawal buys a large piece of good-quality cloth in different colours and given it two tailors to stitch masks. Each tailor makes a minimum of 100 masks daily for him.
He even places orders to private agencies to procure masks for distributing among the people. Each mask cost him Rs 20.
His work never stops. “I recently tested Covid positive. My brother and other family members continued with the work,” he said. He has so far invested his personal savings of over Rs 11 lakh on his mask distribution. Besides Ambikapur, he has covered the adjoining district of Balrampur and Surajpur.
“Last year in March I attended a funeral where the family of the deceased gave a surgical mask to each visitor. That was when the idea struck me,” he says, adding he feels very happy when someone calls him up for masks. He has also got 500 stickers prepared for government and private offices: “No Mask -- No Entry’.
Picture of chief minister on vaccine certificates
The Chhattisgarh government has now started handing out vaccine certificates bearing photos of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel instead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 18+ age group.
Those in the age group of 18-44 years are being given vaccine certificates with the photo of CM Bhupesh Baghel. Vaccine certificates across the country have so far carried a photo of Prime Minister Modi along with his message.