COVID-19 restrictions | Traders in Kozhikode panchayat resort to ‘TPR challenge’ to prove their point

A poster in Malayalam shows the prizes to be offered by KVVES functionaries through draw of lots to those who attend the camps. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Traders in a grama panchayat in Kozhikode district have resorted to what they term as ‘TPR challenge’ to tell the Kerala government that the ongoing restrictions on social life based on the test positivity rate of COVID-19 is unscientific.

Panchayat-level functionaries of the Kerala Vyapari Vyvasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) told The Hindu on July 28 that sheer desperation forced them to launch such an initiative.

“For the past three weeks, a triple lockdown is in force in Peruvayal, which has a population of around 55,000, because of the high rate of TPR. It falls in the ‘D’ category where the TPR is above 15%. However, nearby panchayats, which are bigger in terms of population and number of patients, are in ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories where there are very few restrictions,” Mamukutty Vellakkattu, KVVES leader, said. Because of this, the traders are in a crisis as the authorities are not allowing them to open shops.

The grama panchayat is planning to hold mega testing camps under the aegis of the primary health centre at the Beeline Public School, Kuttikkattoor, on Thursday; St. Xaviers Upper Primary School Peruvayal, on Friday; Government Lower Primary School, Velipparamba, on Saturday; and AMLP School, Poovattuparamba, on Monday. The KVVES functionaries would offer prizes through draw of lots to those who attend these camps. “The first prize winner will take home ₹5,001. Two second-prize winners will get one biryani pot each. Two third prize winners will get one pressure cooker each. Ten others will get consolation prizes as well,” Mr. Mamukutty said.

The grama panchayat functionaries have echoed their concerns though they haven’t declared any official support. On June 19, the panchayat had passed a resolution demanding that the government change the TPR-based restrictions as they are unscientific.

The rate of infection should be determined not in terms of the tests conducted, but in terms of the number of patients per population. Though the number of infected persons had been declining in Peruvayal, the authorities have imposed restrictions here, says the resolution moved by P.K. Sharafudeen, chairman, standing committee on welfare. Other grama panchayats which had more patients in terms of population are being opened up as well. Opening shops just for a day increases the rush of people, the resolution pointed out.

Mr. Sharafudeen said that instead of the current system, micro-containment zones should be determined based on the number of patients and restrictions should be imposed there.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 8:24:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/covid-19-restrictions-traders-in-kozhikode-panchayat-resort-to-tpr-challenge-to-prove-their-point/article35578573.ece

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