How Yogi’s Team-11 is tackling Covid-19 challenges
Uttar Pradesh had no laboratory to test the Sars-Cov-2 pathogen when the first coronavirus positive case was reported in the state on March 3. The state now has 10 such laboratories.
“When UP reported its first coronavirus positive case, we had no testing laboratory. We now have 10 laboratories. We are setting up a lab at each of the 18 divisional headquarters,” chief minister Yogi Adityanath said, while recently speaking about capacity building for laboratories, setting up of new hospitals, quarantine and isolation wards and ensuring the supply of medicines.
The challenges are, however, manifold for the most populous state. Besides threatening human lives, the lockdown is adversely affecting the economy.
In order to meet these challenges, chief minister Yogi Adityanath constituted 11 committees, called Team-11, for expeditious action.
Yogi’s Team-11 is now coming in handy as the state begins acting tough to fight the coronavirus. It was after a review with officers of Team-11 that Yogi Adityanath decided to intensify the lockdown in nearly 105 hot spots of 15 districts that have reported six or more coronavirus positive cases.
“Yes, the chief minister decided to intensify the lockdown and seal the hotspots after a review meeting on Wednesday,” said additional chief secretary, home, Awanish Kumar Awasthi, who is part of Team-11 and has been monitoring enforcement of the lockdown.
“The chief minister decided to set up 11 committees soon after the lockdown. We have regular meetings and the progress made by the 11 committees is reviewed at the chief minister’s level every day. Although the agenda for the committees is already set, the points for action are worked out for any new issues and the action taken is reported,” said chief secretary RK Tiwari, who heads the committee set up for coordination with the union government and other states, and oversees the functioning of 11 committees.
Adityanath and his Team 11 worked almost round the clock to set up shelter homes, arrange transportation, establish quarantine centres and isolation wards after a flood of migrants was reported soon after the lockdown.
A decision to disburse financial relief, give free food to the poor, run community kitchens and ensure supply of essential commodities and doorstep delivery are some other major steps taken after the setting up of the 11 committees.
“We got three bank holidays on April 2, 6 and 10 cancelled to ensure that funds being transferred to beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana, the state government’s pension for aged persons, widows, disabled and leprosy patients reach the people. We are also overseeing implementation of other schemes as asked by chief minister,” said additional chief secretary, Finance, Sanjiv Mittal, who heads the committee set up to monitor the availability of funds, study the impact of the lockdown on the state’s economy and recommend the future course of action.
Director general of police HC Awasthi heads the committee that has been asked to ensure that all the coronavirus positive cases linked to Tablighi Jamaat are quarantined.
Another major task for the committee was to protect the police force and jails from infection, he said.
UP produces 30 to 40 million litres of milk every day. As the demand for milk has gone down due to the lockdown, its transportation to cities and maintaining the supply chain is also proving to be a major task.
“Besides maintaining the supply chain of milk in urban areas, we have ensured that 22 private companies make milk powder out of excess milk. These units used to run in winter to make milk powder and meet the rising demand during summer. They are now making milk powder. To a large extent, this is ensuring that the milk producers get the price for their produce,” said principal secretary, animal husbandry Bhuvnesh Kumar, who, as head of one of the 11 committees, is ensuring the supply of fodder to animals. “We are also working with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) so that stray animals and monkeys also get regular food,” said Kumar.
The chief secretary heads the committee set up to coordinate with the union government and other states and oversees the functioning of all committees.
The infrastructure and industrial development commissioner (IIDC) heads the committee set up to ensure implementation of various schemes launched by the Centre and the state government for welfare of workers and ensure payment of wages.
The agriculture production commissioner heads the committee to monitor the supply chain and ensure doorstep delivery of food grains, milk and vegetables.
The additional chief secretary, home, heads the committee set up to check blackmarketeering of essential commodities. The additional chief secretary revenue’s committee oversees the setting up of community kitchens.
The principal secretary, rural development and panchayati raj, leads the committee set up to take care of cleanliness, sanitisation and supply of clean drinking water in rural areas.
The principal secretary, medical and health, heads the committee working on strengthening surveillance setting up of level 1, level2 and level 3 hospitals, testing labs and provides other facilities.
The principal secretary, animal husbandry, heads the committee set up to take care of the welfare of stray cattle, birds and ensures the supply of fodder.
The DGP’s committee is working on protection of the police force and jails from infection.
The ACS finance heads the committee set up to monitor implementation of schemes for the people’s welfare, provide finance and recommend follow- up action after studying the economic impact of the lockdown. The principal secretary, agriculture, heads the committee set up to look into the problems of farmers.