“Our village, our fight: together we will win over  COVID,” says Ranjeet Dass


GUWAHATI:  “We should render our services with an aim to make our villages COVID-19 free. To be safe we must maintain social distancing and at the same time we should try to reduce our emotional distance. Only then we can serve with full dedication to  curb this grave pandemic situation.”—stated Assam Panchayat and  Rural Development (P&RD) minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass while addressing the GP Presidents-Secretaries and  other field officials of P&RD in a webinar from P&RD Commissionerate regarding  containment and prevention of COVID-19.  

Praising the proactive initiatives taken up for containment and prevention of COVID 19 by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam and the Health Minister Keshab  Mahanta, Minister Dass said that though the disease was earlier confined in the urban areas, with time it has spread to the rural areas too. Therefore, as frontline workers for the  development of villages, Gaon Panchayats have to play a pivotal role in the fight against  COVID-19. 

The fight against COVID-19 should be taken up as a Jan Andolan. For this, the  Minister emphasized that the GPs have to be proactive. They have to take initiative for  conduct of COVID tests for individuals in the villages. Moreover, they have to identify the  causes for the spread of the virus and take preventive measures to curb and eliminate the  possibility of COVID-19 transmission in the villages, for which the panchayats need to  extend necessary help to the active cases, sanitise the GP areas, ensure tests for the migrant  people, distribute free masks to the needy etc. He also advised the GP Presidents and  Secretaries to prepare a detailed plan for the above works. In the meeting, the Minister  announced that to carry out the preventive measures to fight with the pandemic, 10% of the  untied fund of the first installment under the 15th Finance Commission Grants has been  allocated. He also emphasized on cent percent fruitful utilization of this fund. 

Minister Dass also advocated for establishing a ‘War Room’ in every GP. He directed  the GPs to take up an awareness campaign regarding COVID-19 protocol like wearing of  face masks, maintaining social distance, frequent hand washing and use of sanitiser. He also  stressed upon creating awareness through miking, banners, leaflets etc. In this regard, the GPs  may also mobilize the women SHGs for helping in the fight against COVID-19. Minister  Dass further suggested to constitute a Task Force in every ward of the GPs and to work in  coordination with the VDPs. He expressed immense hope that if all functionaries came  together, maintaining all COVID protocols, breaking of the chain will be possible and the  spread of the virus will be successfully curbed.