‘Test tribals in Godavari valley area for COVID-19’

They live in close proximity to Polavaram project workers, says petition in SC

Published - April 17, 2020 11:18 pm IST - New Delhi

A petition in SC said that “non-implementation of social distancing norms in the area may lead to a high possibility of COVID-19 spreading among migrant workers, which may affect the tribals. | File

A petition in SC said that “non-implementation of social distancing norms in the area may lead to a high possibility of COVID-19 spreading among migrant workers, which may affect the tribals. | File

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a direction to the government to conduct COVID-19 tests among the tribal population living along the Godavari river valley area.

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The petition, filed by Pentapati Pulla Rao, said the river belt, where the tribal people live, was close to the Polavaram irrigation project area. A large number of migrant workers was still on the project site and they did not have sanitisers and masks. These workers lived in close proximity to the tribal population.

“The COVID-19 lockdown has been blatantly violated in the Godavari river valley area for the construction of the Polavaram irrigation project on the river area in Andhra Pradesh... Thousands of migrant workers from the four States are forced to work without masks and sanitisers during the lockdown period,” the petition said.

The Godavari river valley area straddles Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Also read | Lockdown displaces lakhs of migrants

The petition argued that the “non-implementation of social distancing norms in the area may lead to a high possibility of COVID-19 spreading among migrant workers, which may in turn increase the likelihood of the virus spreading among tribals, villagers and farmers residing near the migrant workers or in contact with them”.

It said the lack of awareness among the tribal people, who live in dense forest and other scheduled areas of the river valley, made them more prone to virus and bacterial infections.

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