BHOPAL: The panchayat officials have their eyes on the segments of the village population who have been exempted from curfew in the villages. These segments including milkmen, crop-sellers and vegetable-sellersóare exempted from the curfew and they frequently travel to the city. There is no proper mechanism for their health check-up or sampling on a daily basis.
Once these men enter their village, they take part in all the activities, including attending weddings or other rituals. The functions are banned, but the villagers are still not listening and there have even been weddings with over 100 guests at a time. The district administration has failed to stop most of these functions, barring a few.
In the villages, where corona cases have increased, this exempted section is seen as a reason for the spread of corona. The district administration has hardly stopped any marriage while there is no village where marriages have not taken place this season.
The chances of corona-positive men attending the functions cannot be ruled out. The NGOs that are operating in rural areas are raising awareness about the issue, as the villagers are not even wearing masks. The villagers are attending all the events and rituals, including terahwi, organised after death of a relative, in large numbers. This is leading to a rise of corona cases in the villages.
Recently, in a village near Bilkhiria, 16 persons were found positive after a sampling of 105 villagers. The same week, a team of Gandhi Medical College (GMC) found 25 persons positive in Adampur Chhawni village. These villages are located near Bhopal and the vegetable-sellers visit the city and that is why they are getting infected.
An official of the Janpad Panchayat says that these villagers keep on moving without masks all over the place. He says there has never been any challan issued in villages for not wearing masks and, so, it is not easy to prevent the spread of the disease.
Aman Singh, a villager, says that, in Eitkhedi Chhap village, there have been several weddings until recently and the villagers have attended these functions in large numbers. As there is no one to check these activities, such functions continue, he says.
A social worker, Parikshit Singh, says the wedding functions are going on unchecked and they are even managing to get wedding cards printed for distribution to their friends and neighbours. Corona can be checked only through complete closure on all the entry points, he says.
Asha workers alerted
Vikas Mishra, CEO, Zilla Panchayat, Bhopal, says they have alerted Asha workers for informing the police whenever any wedding or any other ritual takes place. He says they are collecting samples from villages, especially of vegetable-sellers and farmers, distributing toolkits and also running awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of the virus there.