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As the number of COVID-19 positive cases in India crosses 1400 mark, Jharkhand prepares to tackle the situation.
In an interview to the Indian Express, on assisting the substantial population in the unorganised sector—around 90 per cent of the workforce, top bureaucrat, Devendra Kumar Tiwari, said, "As of now 2.55 crore people in Jharkhand have been covered under PDS (public distribution system), and we are in the process of giving two months' ration to them. Around 8 lakh people whose applications were pending for ration cards will be given 10 kg rice. We are reaching out to all of them. If the crisis escalates, proper measures will be taken."
Hit by the lockdown, migrant workers were forced to walk home while being stranded on roads in different states of India. Contemplating about this possibility, Jharkhand Government has decided to give more work to them if the pandemic continues as it has 25 lakh active MGNREGA card-holders and Rs. 150 crores have been pumped into the system to clear their dues till date. Moreover, the three-month pension will be given to beneficiaries in the state. Though, the government is yet to decide on how to aid around 9 lakh construction workers who are registered with them.
The state government has allocated Rs 3.19 crore which is in the process to open 498 "daal-bhaat" centres (to serve rice and daal) in all 24 districts. 342 police stations have been turned into such centres. Each centre will feed around 200 people every day, with a total of 1,68,000 people in the state for next two months. Government will also review the situation accordingly as per need. Packets consisting of 2 kg flattened rice, jaggery and whole black gram—will be distributed in distant villages where supply of cooked food is not possible.
"We got 175 samples checked and none came out positive. The test compared to the population is more than (what has been done in) other states. Earlier we were following ICMR guidelines, which changed recently. Currently, two machines at Ranchi and Jamshedpur are functioning. We are procuring machines from four other medical colleges. The frequency of tests will increase in a few days," Chief secretary said.
He further added with certainty that there is no under-reporting of COVID—19 cases, and the state is equipped to manage the outbreak to the hilts by ordering supplies, making arrangements at large. Currently, Jharkhand can deal with 2000 patients. All the private labs, pathologists, paramedics have also been asked to actively battle against novel coronavirus.
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