‘Evergreen Chamarajanagar’ initiative keeps district free of COVID-19
In a bid to stay ahead of the COVID-19 curve and ensure that not a single positive case is reported from the district, the local authorities have launched an ‘Evergreen Chamarajanagar’ initiative.
This entails vesting the public with individual responsibility to ensure social distancing and high level of hygiene in both private and public places. As per the concept, every citizen is a corona warrior along with the health workers and medical fraternity who are leading the battle against COVID-19 from the frontline.
Onus on individuals
The Evergreen Chamarajanagar initiative — launched by district in-charge Minister S. Suresh Kumar — also drums in the message to the public that the virus will not go away overnight and nor can any government be expected to handhold society for an extended period of time. Hence, the onus of preventing the spread of the virus by adhering to social distancing and sanitisation norms, wearing masks, etc. is on individuals.
As on date, Chamarajanagar district continues to be the green zone and has remained immune from COVID-19 thanks to its relative isolation and general backwardness that results in very little interaction of local people with the other districts.
So, the prospects of the virus being spread from people outside are less. Besides, more than 50% of the district is under forest cover and hence the population is distributed thin and wide and there is no congestion the kind of which is seen in urban areas.
But it also shares borders with COVID-19 hotspots and high-risk States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala while the cluster zone of Nanjangud is hardly a few kilometres from the town and Chamarajanagar border.
Yet, the district managed to escape the scourge which has been attributed to intensive screening at the borders to isolate people with COVID-19 symptoms.
“There are 12 checkposts on roads leading into and out of Chamarajanagar district and despite inter-district movement of vehicles, we have continued to screen all passengers and disinfect cargo trucks entering the district at the borders,” said M.R. Ravi, Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar district.
“We have also conducted two rounds of door-to-door surveys covering the entire district and there is no COVID-19 case. So the only way the virus can now enter is from outside and hence the vigil at the checkposts,” he said.
Yet to issue passes
There are 800 natives of Chamarajanagar who have registered on Seva Sindhu portal from high risk States, including 235 from Tamil Nadu, about 80 from Maharashtra, 60 from Kerala, and 30 from Gujarat. But the authorities have not relented and are yet to issue passes. Some districts allowed natives working in other States to return but this only opened up the flood gates of COVID-19 positive cases, said Mr. Ravi.
About 125 people entered the district without permit trekking through forest routes for some time and taking a detour through village roads. But they were rounded up within 24 hours thanks to alert villagers, and quarantined. As on date, 195 people are still under quarantine and their test results are awaited.