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Clerics to patwaris: Govt ropes community leaders to fight COVID 19 in Kashmir

Srinagar:  Wary of surge in COVID 19 cases, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to involve clerics and activate Village Level Committees (VLC) to prevent the spread of infection in the post-lockdown era.

On Saturday, the government relaxed the lockdown and allowed business establishment to function on a rotation basis albeit with strict adherence to SOPs.

The government has asked deputy commissioners (DCs) to involve religious leaders to educate people about Covid-19. “Involvement of community leaders, teachers, mohalla heads is required to make people aware of Covid-19 prevention. Sufficient use of social media platforms and   broadcasting of local language talk shows of experts on radio and Television will also prove beneficial,” said a government order.

The government has also activated VLCs and Block Development Councils (BDCs) for conducting Covid-19 awareness programmes, ensuring adherence to SOPs and taking decisions regarding quarantining of suspecting cases.

VLCs and BDCs will be responsible for identifying Influenza-like Illnesses (ILI), conducting immunization activities, and overseeing the home quarantine of suspected Covid-19 patients.

“All the Deputy Commissioners shall ensure VLCs and BDCs work smoothly for effective Management of Covid-19,” said Divisional Commissioner PK Pole in a recently held review meeting.

An official privy to the meeting said the government has established three-tier reviewing mechanism to regularly track the impact of Covid-19 in every block of Kashmir.

“The VLCs shall have a weekly review meeting on Monday. It will be followed by a review meeting at the block level on the same day. Subsequently, a district-level meeting will be held under Deputy Commissioner later in the day. The summary of meetings shall be sent to Divisional Commissioner on Tuesday morning,” he said.

Another order issued by Divisional Commissioner has empowered principals, headmasters, and patwaris to impose fines on the violators of universal mask use.

Further, to reduce the load on administrative quarantine facilities, the government has directed the Deputy Commissioners to create such facilities at the village level as well.

“Quarantine facility shall be created at the village level in schools, panchayats, and government buildings in consultation and cooperation with the locals of the village through VLCs,” the order said.