Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Q: When did you first get to know about COVID-19?
Mukhiya: I got to know about it in February in a meeting conducted by the Block Development Officer (BDO).
Q: What are your COVID-19 related tasks?
Mukhiya: I read in the news that all the Mukhiyas have to get masks made in their Panchayats and also sanitise the Panchayat. For this, the government is providing monetary help to the Mukhiya. However, as of now, nothing has been done here.
Huge isolation wards have been made in my area for people who are coming from outside.
Q: Are you encountering any challenges?
Mukhiya: I have been asking people to stay at home but they are not listening to me. People are still gathering in the village to play cards.
In my Panchayat, farmers are trying to sell vegetables in the morning but the police beat them up and ask them to disperse. Wheat crops are ready to be harvested but farmers are not getting labourers.
Q: Have you observed shortages?
Mukhiya: There is a huge shortage of green vegetables. Black marketing of ration has also increased tremendously. As far as I am aware, there is no availability of masks or sanitisers. [Note: interview till April 10]
The interview was conducted with a Mukhiya (also known as Sarpanch) in Gaya, Bihar in Hindi on 10 April 2020, and has been translated.