Corona has tightened its grip all over the world. While the deadly disease has gradually spread across the nation, Odisha is not an exception. The outbreak of the Coronavirus was first identified in December 2019. Subsequently, it spread around the world, affecting millions of lives. Even the very advanced countries, like the USA, Britain, Italy and others, have no answer so far to the challenge thrown by Corona. Many are still trying to trace the origin of COVID-19. Recently, a Hong Kong-based scientist Dr Li Meng Yan, who is working on such viruses said, the source of Coronavirus is nowhere but China’s Wuhan based state-owned Laboratory. Regarding the race for vaccines, news has been flooding in the media. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) has been providing various facts and figures on COVID, we have still not been able to determine its origin and status.

Initially, everybody thought the virus would disappear within a few weeks. However, here we are, after several months, the virus continues to create havoc, and the number of contaminated persons is constantly increasing. Faced with such a challenging scenario, the policymakers, scientists and common people are suffering from anxiety and stress. Even the leading Indian astrologers are unable to predict the ultimate impact of Corona.

Keeping the possible predicament in view, our state government, under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik, has taken many farsighted measures. His steps have earned him laurels from many national and global leaders. In fact, Odisha has been a model in our country in fighting COVID-19. The timely and meticulous steps of our state government have kept the havoc of corona under control.

Our CM was quick to realise that during such contagion, the lives and the livelihood of the people carry immense significance. As far as livelihood is concerned, the problems of Non-Resident Odia (NRO) workers seem more relevant. The CM acknowledged that they were also natives and citizens of Odisha, and have equal rights. They are eligible to get equal opportunity and protection along with us. Had the government not facilitated for the safe return of lakhs of workers, they would have faced acute problems and struggles. When on one hand, the labourers were reeling under severe traumas losing their jobs, on the other, their concern to survive multiplied the Govt’s decision to bring them back home safely.

Besides, utmost priority was given to facilitate NRO workers’ return to their homes, their accommodation in quarantine centres, essential provisions like drinking water and food. Notably, the eligible immigrant NROs were included in the Food Security Act and were provided dry ration. In a bid to encourage the NROs, each one of them was given Rs 2000 as a token. To create employability, the state government declared various schemes. To make them self reliant, the government facilitated short term Bank Loan. The government also took steps to provide livelihood through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

Our CM has taken several measures in the interest of COVID Warriors – to extend due recognition and encouragement. The Chief Minister had provided an advance salary to doctors, nurses and health workers for four months. The CM felicitated the people in Odisha and NRO people all over the nation and abroad as the state recited the anthem ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ as a mark of respect toward the service and sacrifice of the COVID warriors.

Remarkably, since the emergence of corona, the Odisha government has been handling the pandemic meticulously through its administrative machinery. To abridge the influence of the disease in Odisha, thousands of administrative personnel, doctors and other health professionals along with the police are putting efforts day in day out. In this context, the district of Ganjam stands as a glaring example in successfully fighting the onslaught of corona. It has always been the prime agenda of our Hon’ble CM and state government to ensure the safety of citizens’ lives at any cost. The government has provided free health services to all the patients affected by corona.

Nobody, irrespective of their affluence, social status, caste, creed and religion is free from the grip of corona. Nowadays, nearly one lakh people across the nation and at least four thousand people within Odisha fall into the trap of the virus daily. Corona has put the policymakers, medical scientists, doctors and researchers on the back foot. Whatever the result may be, we are in the belief that we will eventually emerge out of this fight victorious. No doubt, we have to live with and make our livelihood with Corona, and for this, we have to be extremely careful. During this pandemic, we should never forget that man is a social animal. However fatal the disease may be, we should not hate the patients. It’s imperative that we face the contagion with a collective approach.