Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Fortunately no COVID-19 positive case has yet been found in the entire district of Rayagada though two cases are reported in the adjacent district of Kalahandi. Kudos avalanche to the proactive administration of the district. As the entire administration alongwith the sensitized common mass are working hand in hand, repressive measures taken up by the law keeping police force like excessive fine collection, beating by police to the no law-abiding commuters, etc are really scarce.
Rayagada cops under the leadership of Dr Saravana Vivek M, IPS have gone beyond the role of maintaining law and order. Take the case of interior village namely Jambu, Perigaon, Natama, Tadama which is inhabited by around ultra poor tribal households. Rayagada IIC Sri Nihar Ranjan Pradhan has led a police team to these non-descript villages to distribute dry rations. While these poor tribal villagers alongwith brick klin workers from neighbouring districts of the district and outside states like Chhatisgarh & AP , who are mostly daily labourers and not able to organise two square meals during this lock down, are staying in their homes and temporary sheds near the klins by adhering the govt’s order in true spirit, material relief by the cops has been a boon. Pradhan says that villagers are much more law abiding than their counterparts in the tinsel towns like Rayagada. The donations in the form of dry rations have come as charity from a few philanthropists, who, in fact, posed faith on the police to distribute the relief materials on their behalf. “Though, in common parlance, police is characterised as oppressors, this myth has been exploded by the cops of Rayagada. Thus the cops have gone beyond their traditional role of keeping law and order in the district”, said Sri Ranjan Rath, a senior scribe of the district.
As the IMFL shops are now shut down, it has created a boon for the illegal brewing; but the cops have turned this boon to a bane for these hooligans. Till April 14th, 69 cases were registered against 69 accused persons by seizing 840 litres of Illicitly Distilled(ID) liquor, 56 litres of Out Still(OS) liquors, 125 litres of Foreign Liquor(IMFL), 70 litres of Salap Tadi and several containers. Thousand litres of wash were also confiscated. A continuous tirade against this illegal action is still on and will not stop till these law breakers are not put behind bars, says Saravana Vivek. Sarvana does not really yield to any pressure. He booked and rebuked a few rumour mongerers including a scribe. His officers have also been able to nab a gamut of gamblers including a self-acclaimed mediaperson under Padmapur Police Station, seized vehicles, lakhs of money & forwarded them to court of law. So the cops are not only swayed away by the Corona syndrome, but also have strict vigil of other unlawful activities of the district.
As usual, the 4th Battalion of Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) has not lagged behind. Apart from its naka duty round the clock, the jawans under the able leadership of Commandant Sri Yatendra Kumar Rajput have taken the prime responsibility of feeding the poor with safely cooked food and safe drinking water at slums and habitations in and around Rayagada namely slums beside Rayagada Railway station, Mamkadajhola, Gayatri Nagar, attendants in district hospital, temple premises, Nagabali Chowk, , Ghasi Sahi, Relli Sahi, Aravind Nagar, Forest Lane, backside of Abhinandan Community hall, , Chekaguda, Ontariguda, Cooperative Colony, etc. This initiative got started since the beginning of the lock down. Recently the jawans have visited the Old Age Home and not only created awareness on COVID-19 among the inmates but also donated a TV set to the senior citizens in the home to keep them abreast of the situation in the country and abroad. Masks, medicines and fruits were also distributed. There is certainly a brave heart in a jawan to combat extremism within and without while affirming his motto of service and loyalty to the country and countrymen; but within that brave heart, there is also a kind heart. This was reflected when they did not forget to share breakfast with the staff of municipality engaged with cleaning the garbage and filth of the town. Of late, they have started to sanitise the slums and villages in and around Rayagada. “Our jawans have thus proved that they are brave in mind and kind in heart, be it a war in Kasmir or a combat against Corona. Their action says a lot about it”, said Sri Rabindra Patakhandal, who has lot of praise for this paramilitary force exhibiting an epitome of transparency when they share every bit of their activities to the media.
In general, the people of Rayagada are simple, sensible and sensitized. Around fifteen lakhs of rupees has been contributed to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and Prime Minister’s Relief Fund by the emancipated citizens, civil societies and even children of the district. The donations are still pouring in. This has been possible because of Collector Sri Pramod Kumar Behera, a charismatic manager of the district with vast experience, who took the cudgel in convincing the donors to contribute for the cause. He is pragmatic and leaves no stone unturned. He has instructed his officers to give special attention to persons with disabilities, senior citizens, sick persons affected with cancer & AIDS, etc, pregnant & lactating mothers, children, etc. More than magisterial, his approach in coordinating and bridging the gap between the administration and public including the civic bodies will certainly go a long way.