Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Q: Do you face issues with the community not disclosing health and travel information of their family members?
Block Development Officer (BDO): Yes, there have been such incidences in my Block. People hide information about their family members who come from outside. We take strict action against such behaviour and file FIRs. Taking these challenges into consideration, the district administration has formulated a three-tier system:
ASHA and Anganwadi workers are monitoring people who have been home quarantined.
Pradhan and Panchayat Sachiv are sending the reports of people who are home quarantined to the Block.
Flying Squads: Houses tagged with a red board suggesting infection are being monitored by BDOs like me in rural areas and by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) or Tehsildar in urban areas. This report is sent every day to the district administration.
There has been some change now in the attitude of people - the community has understood the importance of social distancing now and they are adhering to it.
Q: How did your Block/District manage to mobilise funds to procure safety equipment like masks, gloves, sanitiser etc? Were you able to use the 14th finance commission funds?
BDO: A sum of Rs 50,000 was arranged for the Block by the district administration. Considering the requirements of the Gram Panchayat, we gave instruction to buy sanitisers, masks and gloves. Apart from this, we also bought cloth using which women’s self-help groups were stitching masks.
As per the 14th Finance Commission, we received instructions to buy safety equipment but this decision was taken back by the government only after a day it was communicated to us. After this, we made a demand to the district administration for funds, which was approved.
Q: Is there any provision to help farmers to take their crops to the market?
BMO: The government has paid special attention to this and has instructed the Truck union to give priority to farmers and help them take their crops to the market. However, it is true that the farmers are not getting the correct price for their crops. The major reason is that the crops are not being exported to other states.
The interview was conducted with a Block Development Officer in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh in Hindi on 12 May 2020, and has been translated.