Ganjam district's 'Dabang officer' wages multi-pronged war on Covid-19

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

Doctors wearing protective suits as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus check patients outside an isolation ward
Ganjam collector and district magistrate Vijay Amruta Kalunge has embarked upon a novel initiative to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.  

The initiative will cover approximately 700,000 families, he said.

Odisha has so far registered 42 positive cases of Covid-19. The pandemic has taken one life- that of a 72-year-old man.

Amruta has risen to the occasion to take on the contagion. Previously, he had asked all government officials in Ganjam district to keep their mobile handsets perpetually switched on in this exigent situation.

While the officials were asked to keep their mobile phones on round-the-clock so that they can be contacted during an emergency, the Collector found most of their numbers switched off. Irritated, he directed all sub-collectors, tehsildars, BDOs and CDPOs in the district to send details of employees, including Group-D staff, to the Collectorate. He also directed them to contact the employees under their jurisdictions over the phone to assure their presence at home.

According to the Collector’s directive, any official’s number would be rung up at random and if found switched off, the erring officer would be brought to the Collectorate and assigned additional duties round-the-clock as a punishment.

Earlier, the district administration had announced that shops will only remain open from 7 am to 12 pm every day. Police have been patrolling prime locations in the town to ensure that there is no violation. However, in the absence of police in lanes and bylanes, petty shopkeepers and roadside vendors are keeping their shops open till evening.

Kalunge had also directed people to wear masks while venturing out of their homes. Seven violators were penalised for not complying with the directive.

Referred to as the ‘dabang officer’, Kalunge had previously slapped a penalty of Rs seven lakh on a liquor shop owner for littering the surroundings. The officer went aboard a bicycle to do a status check on cleanliness of the area. During the visit, he also fined a mushroom vendor with Rs 10,000 for single-use plastic seized from him.

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