Covid-19 hinterland digest: A 200-bed hospital built in just 20 days

An agricultural labourer harvests wheat crop at a farm during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Photo: PTI
The coronavirus (Covid-19) spread is on the rise in the country, and so is the testing of the infections. Till Friday morning, India had 13,430 infected cases, with 448 deaths because of the pandemic. The problem, however, is not just the virus. The panic, hysteria, false information and mismanagement at various levels are some hurdles in a smooth recovery. The relaxations by the government will kick in from April 20 in select areas of the country.

Business Standard takes a look at regional editions of Hindi newspapers to provide you a picture of the Covid-19 situation in the hinterland:

When currency notes on the road led to Covid-19 conspiracy theories

No less than 25 currency notes worth Rs 6,480 were thrown on a street in Khatipur, Indore, creating panic among the people, Hindi newspaper Patrika reported. A car came on the generally busy market road and out came the currency notes of Rs 200 and Rs 500 denomination. The car left behind bewildered onlookers. As the news spread, the authorities immediately swung into action. Municipal corporation officers and the police reached the stop and carefully took the currency notes in their possession. The said notes and the notes in nearby shops nearby were sanitised as well. In order to nab the culprit, the police scanned the CCTV footage but the effort was in vain.

Punjab mandis following strict social distancing norms

Wheat purchase in Asia's biggest food grain mandi is a challenge in itself. However, the Punjab authorities are dealing with it, keeping in mind the social distancing norms, reported Dainik Bhaskar from Khanna and Ropar in Punjab. Blocks of 30 feet by 30 feet have been made where farmers are bringing their produce for selling. The local authorities have issued a token system for smooth running and also deployed 16,000 volunteers to enforce social distancing norms. Not only this, but the farmers, labourers, and agents have also been provided with masks and gloves. Even the trollies are being sanitised. On Thursday itself, around 36,077 metric tonnes of wheat was purchased. The per quintal rate has been fixed at Rs 1,825. The farmers will get their money within 48 hours. The government will provide masks to anyone who is involved in the process and will also sanitise the harvest.

Not the same in Nashik

Unlike Punjab, the farmers are facing a very different situation in Nashik. Their commodity is onion and the issue they are facing is the price. Nashik has one of the biggest onion markets in Asia. However, this year has not been good for onion farmers. It started with prohibition on onion exports. The Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered the lockdown, has brought them more grief. Transportation is next to negligible, which is forcing them to sell onion at a very low price, resulting in losses. Since the red onion goes bad in a few days, the farmers are selling it at a paltry price of Rs 7, 10, 20 per kg. This is not even coming at par with the cost incurred. Lasalgaon mandi has become a hub of onion auction at low prices.

Tomato prices tank to Rs 2 per kg in Bhopal

If onions in Nashik were causing pain to farmers, tomatoes in Bhopal did more damage, according to a report in Dainik Bhaskar. Karond mandi in Bhopal, that used to see 250,000 kg tomatoes being traded on a daily basis, registered only 75,000 kg of tomato trade. What's worse is that it is being sold at Rs 2 per kg. Each kilo of tomato incurs a cost of Rs 3, according to the report. Farmers are forced to either dispose it off or feed it to animals. Similar is the case with vegetables. Not enough is getting sold in the mandis as the officials are in no position to buy more than a limit.

In Chhattisgarh a 200-bed hospital comes up in 20 days flat to fight coronavirus

Mana, in Chhattisgarh, now has a 200-bed dedicated hosptial for coronavirus patients, reports Dainik Bhaskar. The civil hospital in Mana has been transformed into Covid-19 hospital in just 20 days at a cost of Rs 2.5 crores. The hospital is equipped with 12 ventilators, ICUs, semi-ICUs, separate wards for males and females. There is an isolation ward for critical patients. This medical facility has been handed over to the medical college and all the necessary changes have been made in accordance with the suggestions made by the medical college. Some special features include CCTVs and a control room to keep an eye on each activity of the hospital; bells at the side of each bed that would alert the control room when pressed; regular cleaning and sanitisation of each corner of the hospital.

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