'We Became Alert after the Bhilwara Incident'
Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Q: When did you first get to know about COVID-19?
BDO: I got to know about the virus when it started spreading in Wuhan. However, we became alert after the Bhilwara incident [Bhilwara in Rajasthan had emerged as a hotspot of COVID-19 cases in the country in March].
Q: What are your COVID-19 related tasks?
BDO: I have to ensure that the lockdown is followed in my Panchayat Samiti. We are also starting door-to-door services to provide ration to households. Additionally, five litres of Sodium Hydrochloride that has been provided by the district authorities is being used to sanitise the panchayats.
Before the lockdown even started, we started receiving instructions to organise awareness programmes in villages. Teachers, ASHAs are visiting households, and senior officials have installed loudspeakers on their vehicles for awareness generation.
There is a WhatsApp group of workers at each level in which all the relevant information is shared. We are visiting tribes, like Rebari and Seheriya, who live in the forests and providing them ration.
Q: Are you encountering any challenges?
BDO: No. We have made masks available for people ever since screening has started. We have provided ration for March and April, and also plan to provide for May in advance.
The interview was conducted with a Block Development Officer (BDO) in Baran, Rajasthan in Hindi on 10 April 2020, and has been translated.