Odisha announces special package for PVTGs for COVID-19 management

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Bhubaneswar/Malkangiri, Jun 2 (PTI) With about 50 members of Odishas Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) getting infected by COVID-19 during the second wave of the pandemic, the state government Wednesday announced a special package for them.

Of the 62 tribes, 13 communities have been identified as the PVTG, earlier known as the Primitive Tribal Group, which live in dense forests and hills spread across 14 districts, an official said.

Around 541 villages with 27,308 households and 1,34,000 population exist in the 17 old Micro Project Agency (MPA) areas and 1,138 newly identified PVTG villages with 36,906 households and 1,60,401 population have further been notified in the existing MPAs and three additional MPAs established at Keonjhar, Jajpur and Dhenkanal districts.

The state has identified some members of Bonda, Didiya and other PVTGs as having contracted the infection.

Odishas ST & SC, Minorities and Backward Class Welfare Minister Jagannath Saraka Wednesday visited Bonda Hills in Malkangiri district and distributed essentials among the inhabitants as their livelihood has been affected due to the COVID-induced lockdowns and shutdowns.

The minister met members of Bonda and Diddiya tribes and made them aware of COVID-19 safety norms and distributed masks, sanitisers and food grains among them.

The special package includes distribution of free masks and sanitising materials to all PVTGs, a dry ration kit of Rs.2,500 to all COVID affected PVTG households, an incentive of Rs.1,400 to all PVTGs at the rate of Rs.100 per day for those affected by COVID-19 during their stay in institutional quarantine centres.

The government also launched a door-to-door survey and health screening of all PVTG households.

Community Resource Persons(CRPs) working in PVTG villages will be awarded Rs. 1,000 per month as an incentive for four months, an official said.

Health kits and life insurance coverage have also been provided for all the field functionaries under MPAs, he said.

The special package also includes fund provision for supporting the isolation centres set up at village level and COVID Care Centres at MPA level and dedicated ambulances for emergency transport, the official said.

A massive awareness campaign has been taken up in all PVTG villages, the official said.

On detection of COVID symptoms, the block level Rapid Response Team is mobilised for conducting mass testing and referring the infected persons to isolation/quarantine centre/COVID Care Hospital as the case may be, he said.

The government has also facilitated the establishment of isolation/ quarantine Centre in hard to reach pockets or wherever required on an emergency basis.

The State Level Monitoring Team is closely working with District Administration in this entire process while daily tracking of the COVID cases and the containment measures are being done by the State Level Monitoring Cell, he said.

Bonda, Birhor, Chuktia, Bhunjia, Didayi, Dungaria, Kandha, Hill Kharia, Juang, Kutia Kondh, Lanjia Saora, Lodha, Mankirida, Paudi, Bhuyan and Saora tribes are identified as PVTG jn Odisha.

Bondas and Didiayis are found in the Malkangiri district, which shares its border with Andhra Pradesh on the east and south and Chhattisgarh on the west.