43 villages of Ballabgarh district in Haryana have not only fought and kept Corona at bay, they have also ensured that poor and needy are fed throughout, villages are sanitised, and even Gaushala find the required fodder. They have achived this without relying on any aid or materials from the government.
Without relying on the government or its aid, as many as 43 villages of Ballabgarh district in Haryana have successfully fought and kept Corona at bay. During the last 4 months, the villagers have ensured that not only a single person is infected but every poor and needy is fed 3 times a day throughout the lockdown period. The effort of the villagers in Ballabgarh is a lesson for many other towns and cities in surviving a health emergency.
Just as the entire country, villages of Ballabgarh were locked down in March. The first task the villagers took up was to feed the needy and poor in their villages. They formed a team to co-ordinated the efforts. Without any assistance from the government, 24000 food kits and ration kits have been distributed to the needy in these villages till 31st May. A team of 300 volunteers was formed to arrange and distribute these kits.
The service also included distribution of more than 1000 masks to poor people and distribution of fodder to cowsheds. The team of volunteers also honoured Corona warriors like the doctors, healthcare and sanitation workers in these villages.
Safeguarding from Infection
As soon as the villagers came to know about the infection spread by the Tabligi Jamaat members from Nizamuddin in Delhi, the village sarpanchs and prominent elders of the 43 villages met and decided to tackle the issue.
It was decided that all the roads leading to these villages should be guarded and each and every person coming from other towns, cities and villages is screened for Corona infection. Their decision to screen outsiders was conveyed to the district administration and police who agreed and promised cooperation from their end. The villagers themselves took up the task of guarding the roads and entry points.
Patrolling at the entry points was started from April 1st and the Khedi village was the first to begin the process of screening people. Within a week, the remaining 42 villages started the process of patrolling and screening. Due to strict screening, 26 suspects who were trying to hide the symptoms were apprehended and handed over to the police. Every visitor or anyone coming from outside these villages was allowed inside only after thorough inquiry and screening.
The way the villagers worked together to ensure that these villages remain Corona free is truly commendable and worth emulating.
Aid to daily wage workers
The Ballabgarh district has many daily wage workers who have come from different parts of the country and are working at the construction site of Mata Amrutanandamayi's (Amma) mega Hospital near Faribdabad. There are more than 250 daily wage earners in some of the villages in the district, most in the Tikavali village. Many of them could not go back to their hometowns due to the lockdown and were stranded here without food and ration. The villagers too could not be burdened with their responsibility for long.
The volunteers immediately spoke to the officers of the Amma's hospital and made them aware of the condition of the workers. The hospital authorities immediately took the responsibility of arranging food for them for as long as lockdown was in place. The volunteers took up the task of distributing the food and ration arranged by the hospital authorities. The efforts of the volunteers ensured that the food and ration needs of the daily wage earners was taken care of for the entire duration.
Food and Ration to the needy
As soon as the lockdown over Corona was implemented in the country, the volunteers talked to all the villagers, the sarpanchs, the panchayat workers, over the emerging situation and the need for helping the poor during lockdown. The villagers agreed to arrange food and ration which was sourced from these villages only so that they have minimum contact with outsiders. It is due to the diligent implementation of lockdown norms, there have not been a single case of Corona in any of these 43 villages.
With cooperation from all the villagers, about 24000 food or ration kits were provided for the needy people till May 31, 2020. This was achieved with the generous donation from the local villagers only and No aid or ration was taken from any government organisation or other agencies.
Initially when lockdown was implemented, a week's food and ration was given to 105 needy families. The same continued for the subsequent week. However, in the third week 70 families were given ration while the volunteers came to know that the remaining 35 families were agricultural laborers who used to harvest wheat every year. However, this year due to the lockdown and free ration they had not engaged in harvesting activities.
The volunteers spoke to these family members and urged them to involve in harvesting wheat which will solve two problems; One, they will find their livlihoods and not depend of free rations and two, the agricultural land owners will find the labourers for harvesting their crops. The process of engaging these laborers in agricultural activites began gradually and solved both the problems of livlihood and need for labour.
Sanitisation of Villages
The villages also took up the task of regular sanitisation and cleaning up of their own areas. The volunteers along with villagers formed teams and engaged in regular sanitisation of homes, offices, public places and outposts.
The volunteers also ensured that people stepped out of their homes only when absolutely required. They were also educated on the importance of staying home, washing hands, taking the required precautions and general cleanliness.
Aid to Goshalas
The volunteers from the villages have also helped in providing fodder for cattle. The sarpanch of the village which has the Bhupani Gaushala wanted to evacuate the 125 cows there due to lack of fodder. The volunteers were informed of the Sarpanch's predicament.
The volunteers immediately spoke to the district administration and other people. Within 5 hours, the required amount of fodder for the 125 cows was arranged. The cows are now safe in the gaushala and all their needs are taken care of till date.