Odisha to lunch house-to-house COVID-19 survey in villages: CM

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Bhubaneswar, May 17 (PTI) With 58 per cent of the fresh COVID-19 cases being reported from Odisha's rural pockets, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced that the government will conduct a house-to-house survey for three months to record coronavirus symptoms in villagers.

The survey, to be conducted by Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and Anganwadi workers who will also take down details of comorbidity conditions of people, will start from May 24. They will be given an incentive of Rs 1,000 per month for these three months.

Patnaik made this announcement at an all-party meeting convened by Odisha assembly Speaker S N Patro.

The chief minister also said that 46,106 Gaon Kalyan Samities (GKSs) across the state will be activated in the fight against COVID-19.

Village Health and Sanitation Committees, set up as a part of the National Rural Health Mission initiative, are popularly known as Gaon Kalyan Samitis in Odisha.

Patnaik said that an amount of Rs 10,000 per GKS will be sanctioned for undertaking Covid related activities at the village level.

As ASHA workers monitor home isolation cases, they will be provided one-time assistance of Rs 10,000 for bicycle, cupboard, slippers, umbrella and torch, he said at the all- party meeting.

Sarpanchs (village heads) continue to have the powers to enforce lockdown and they are free to start temporary medical camps (TMC) based on need and inflow of people from outside.

The state has started zonal TMCs as the flow of people from outside is very less compared to what it was last year, Patnaik informed the lawmakers.

To provide a healing touch to poor families devastated by COVID-19, the Odisha government will continue to cover widows and orphan children under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana, a social security scheme for poor distressed persons, he said.

'We are already in the midst of the second wave. We don't know how many more waves or variants we will have to face. We imposed the lockdown to slow down this current wave.

However, lockdowns cannot be the solution as it seriously hurts livelihoods. It's a long fight and we have to prepare our people through awareness,' Patnaik said.

The main weapons to control the spread of the virus are wearing masks, washing hands regularly, maintaining social distances, avoiding crowded places and staying at home, he said.

Patnaik appealed to MLAs to take this message to the people.

'The government will allow expenditure of up to Rs 50 lakh from MLALAD scheme for assisting in activities related to covid management, including procurement of masks from Mission Shakti groups to provide for poor people,' he told the MLAs.

Health care facilities have been quickly ramped up, the chief minister said.

Patnaik said, 'The state has been setting up oxygen plants within main hospitals. We are importing large number of oxygen cylinders which are in short supply in the country.' At the same time, Patnaik said, Odisha has been supporting other states for their oxygen requirements, which is widely appreciated.

'In view of the vaccine supply issues in the country, we have floated a global tender to try and procure vaccines quickly to protect our people. We have also formed a high- level advisory committee to guide the state in its fight against the virus,' he said.

Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra demanded that poor people be provided with Rs 6,000, or at least Rs 2,000, a month as their livelihood means are closed due to lockdown.

The BJP demanded immediate isolation arrangements in rural areas as many people are getting infected in villages and some are returning homes from various states in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. PTI AAM NN NN

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