The Thanneermukkom grama panchayat in Alappuzha has come up with a novel idea of using umbrellas to ensure social distancing, an effective protective measure against COVID-19.
As part of the Break the Chain Umbrella project, the local body will distribute at least 10,000 umbrellas to its residents.
P. S. Jyothis, president, Thanneermukkom panchayat, says social distancing can be easily maintained in public places by using umbrellas. “Umbrellas are used as protection against rain and sun. The panchayat has a population of 50,000. We have urged our residents to make it a habit to use umbrellas in order to maintain social distancing. Umbrellas produced by Kudumbashree units will be distributed by Marari Marketing Limited,” Mr. Jyothis says.
Of the 10,000 umbrellas to be distributed, 6,000 will be given to Kudumbashree members, 2,000 to workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
They will be given umbrellas on loan and at subsidised rates. Besides, the people who do not have money to buy umbrellas will be given them through sponsorships.
Thanneermukkom, which reported a COVID-19 case earlier this month, is one of the three hotspots in the district. Panchayat authorities say two masks would be given along with an umbrella. It has entrusted six Kudumbashree units with the production of one lakh masks.
Minister for Local Self-Governments A. C. Moideen launched the project at a function at the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Kalavoor, on Thursday. Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and others were present. On the occasion, umbrellas were given to health workers, Kudumbashree office-bearers and grama panchayat members.