Initiatives during Covid-19 Pandemic
Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar and its sister institution Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), under the leadership of its Founder Prof. Achyuta Samanta, have taken a series of initiatives right from the outbreak of the disease and have been at the forefront of Odisha’s war against the coronavirus. Some humanitarian actions of KIIT & KISS stand out as they have significantly bolstered the health care infrastructure of the State, greatly reduced the suffering of people and touched the lives of the most marginalized and overlooked sections.
In one of the most significant measures in Odisha’s war against Covid-19, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), a constituent of KIIT Deemed to be University, set up four ultramodern dedicated Covid hospitals with the support of the Govt. of Odisha, located in Bhubaneswar and three tribal-dominated districts of Odisha. KIMS Covid Hospital in Bhubaneswar, a 500-bedded state-of-the-art facility including 50 critical care beds, was India’s first standalone Covid hospital. The quick turnaround time in setting up the Covid Hospitals has saved thousands of lives.
KIIT & KISS reached out to various groups facing hardship due to the extended lockdown. The intervention included the distribution of food materials and other essentials to over 5 lakh pandemic-hit people, including the disadvantaged people living in various slums, stranded migrant labourers, who were also provided temporary shelter, and people living in containment zones.
- Community outreach activities of KIIT & KISS reached the hardest-hit and commonly overlooked people – transgenders, sportspersons, physically challenged, sex workers, etc. They were provided with allowances to cope with the prolonged lockdown. Food materials and cash to meet other expenses for three months were given to priests and other workers of several spiritual centres in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and nearby towns. The two institutions are providing groceries and cash for miscellaneous expenses to over 40 orphanages, old age homes and leprosy centres in Kandhamal district.
- KISS is a home for 30,000 tribal students from interior districts of Odisha pursuing their studies from Standard-I to PG/Ph.D. level. Days before the outbreak of the pandemic, they were sent to their respective homes in various districts of Odisha. As the students are in their respective homes, KISS has been sending study materials, dresses and generous amounts of dry foods at the doorsteps every month since April. The monthly materials also contain sanitary napkins for the adolescent girl students. This continued until the reopening of KISS.
- Inspired by the Prime Minister’s call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India), KISS has revved up its vocational skill centre during the Covid-19 pandemic. The centre has been scaled up to become a medium-size industry and is now making 25 different types of vocational products. These products are marketed through a well developed distribution channel, besides fulfilling the in-house requirements of KIIT & KISS.
- In a unique humanitarian gesture, KIIT Deemed to be University has decided to provide free education to the children of the Covid deceased in Odisha. The facility will be available for two academic years: 2020-21 and 2021-22. More than 100 students are enrolled under this measure.
- The first six months of the ongoing pandemic made many children orphans. Such children, particularly those belonging to the poorer sections, were suffering an untold tragedy. KIIT & KISS have adopted and are taking care of about 100 such orphans and providing them monthly allowance ranging from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10000, depending upon the family size. As and when the academic institutions reopen fully, they will be provided with free education and subsequently complete higher education in KIIT & KISS.
- Support to orphans and children of the Covid-deceased has been possible due to its Founder, Prof. Achyuta Samanta’s personal childhood experience of hunger and poverty that he had to suffer after he lost his father at the tender age of four. He has always been striving to ensure that no child is deprived of quality education because of untimely death of parents or poverty.