Coronavirus In India: People In Rural Areas Don’t Even Know The Basics About Pandemic Threat

By Satish Mahaldar, Chairman, Reconciliations, Return & Rehabilitations of Kashmiri Migrants

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Centre and state governments claim to be creating awareness among the people. But, a random check has revealed that a large number of people in the rural areas are lacking even the basics about the pandemic threat. 

A survey was done by me in Kulgam, Badgam, Baramulla, Shopian, Handwara, Poonch, Rajouri, Akhnoor, and the migrant camps in Jagti and Purkhoo.

What I found there:

  • Two kms away from the headquarters in these areas have, no awareness programmes have been taken by the concerned govt authorities. 
  • Sarpanch, Panch, MLAs, MLC till now have neither visited their villages nor distributed masks and disinfectants nor had initiated any awareness programs.
  • Most of the district health centres, hospitals and doctors do not have the appropriate gear/tools/equipment to combat COVID-19.
  • In district hospitals there are no ventilators, and neither are there adequate medicines to cater to the needs of common man.
  • Most of the ration depots are closed and the ration has not been supplied to the needy ones. Few store owners even have reduced the average allocation of rice from 3.25 kgs to 2.5 kgs to individuals on their own and without any official orders. 
  • Kerosene oil is virtually missing from the market and numerous complaints have been received that it is being black marketed.
  • Cable operators and their movements have been restricted in rural villages.  Most of the villagers are dependent on cable TV for getting news and entertainment. As cable operators are not able to function, people in villages are not aware about the coronavirus threat. 
  • In most of the rural villages, places of worship, market shops, schools, gathering places have not been disinfected so far.  
  • In Jagti/ and other migrant camps, people are most vulnerable and they do not have any adequate facilities, awareness about the combating of COVID-19.

The findings come as a shock as the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Central government have been making tall claims about preparedness and spreading awareness about this dreaded infection. 

My humble request is to focus on the rural parts of not just the J&K but also whole of the country. The people living in the rural areas severely lack information, knowledge, infrastructure and the means to fight the COVID-19.

It is unfortunate that local leaders including the MLAS, MLC, Sarpanches and Panches are absolutely missing in the action at this need of hour. 

At none of the above-mentioned places has any MLA, MLC or Sarpanch or Panch done anything to reach out to the gullible rural area.

It is still not late to take action. If they do not act now, then it will be disastrous for millions living in rural areas and in migrant camps.

Facebook Comments