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BSF creates awareness of COVID-19 among Odisha tribals

A medical camp for tribals with special emphasis on coronavirus (COVID-19) awareness was conducted by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at Kurkunda village deep inside the Tulasi reserve forest, a Maoist hotbed in Swabhiman Anchal of Odisha’s Malkangiri district on Tuesday.

State-wise tracker | State Helpline numbers

The security personnel involved in anti-Maoist operations are now a shield against COVID-19 for tribals of Swabhman Anchal. At Kurkunda, the tribals were distributed masks prepared by tailors of the Company Operation Base (COB) of 160 battalion of BSF. The tribal beneficiaries were provided food materials and taught basics of social distancing, and basic sanitation to fight COVID-19 threat. Security personnel screened all villagers at Kurkunda with thermal sensors and the ones suffering from different common ailments were provided necessary medicines.

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Double fight

Personnel of the Odisha police and the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) are now actively involved in the double fight against infiltration of Maoists and the deadly virus in remote Swabhiman Anchal. The special helpline number introduced by the Odisha police for inhabitants of Swabhiman Anchal to facilitate various developmental activities and basic amenities is now helping to gather information about the health condition of the people. In the absence of the mainstream health care system, the police outposts and COBs continue to provide primary health care and medicines to the locals.


Cut-off area

Swabhiman Anchal was earlier a cut-off area of Balimela reservoir with no direct road link with Odisha mainland. The Gurupriya bridge, inaugurated on July 26, 2018, had provided a direct road connectivity to over 30,000 tribals living in 151 villages of Swabhiman Anchal. Since then security personnel have worked hard to get close to the local tribals to reduce the Maoist presence substantially.


“The change brought through initiatives of the police personnel stationed there for long has won the hearts of the people, which is helping in the COVID-19 fight,” said Shefeen Ahmed K, Deputy Inspector General, south-western range. Police outposts and Company Operation Bases (COB) of the paramilitary forces at places like Jodambo, Badapada, Janabai, Jantapai, Hantalguda in Swabhiman Anchal and the civil police officers attached to them have now become warriors against COVID-19.

Direct ties

Direct relations of police and CAPF personnel with students, youth and village leaders through various pro-people activities are now helping in awareness drive against COVID-19 infection. Added to it, security personnel continue to play a key role in distribution of PDS, a major issue during the continuing lockdown. The goodwill they earned through facilitation of development projects and identification of beneficiaries for various schemes is being used to encourage people to accept the tough measures against COVID-19 pandemic.

Road connectivity had reached Jodambo, the heart of Swabhiman Anchal, because of the support of locals to security personnel who provide protection to workers engaged in the work. This road connectivity is now helping in the transportation of goods in the fight against COVID-19. Increased faith of tribals of Swabhiman Anchal towards security personnel was proved on January 25 night, when inhabitants of Janturai village under Jodambo panchayat had retaliated against a group of armed Maoists terrorising them to oppose road construction in their area. One Naxalite was killed and another was seriously injured.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 6:55:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bsf-creates-awareness-of-covid-19-among-odisha-tribals/article31349769.ece

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