Letter to the Gujarat Chief Secretary, the Gujarat Disaster Management Authority chairman, and the Amreli district collector, demanding relief to the common people during the epidemic of COVID-19, and regarding the preparation and implementation of Corona Disaster Management Plan according to the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Gujarat Disaster Management Act, 2003, and guidelines for preparation of the District Disaster Management Plan:
Our suggestions on the preparation and implementation of Corona Disaster Management Plan:
In Section 37(1) and Section 32 and Section 31 of the Central Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Sections 15 and 16 of the Gujarat Disaster Management Act, there are provisions for the preparation of Disaster Management Plan. Such provisions are present in the rules as well.
Demand for preparing and implementing the “Corona Disaster Management Plan,2020” as per the above legal requirements set forth and existing Corona Disease Epidemic:
Guidelines for preparation of Disaster Management Plan provides for ‘Information consolidation, interpretation and demand survey’:
- In the covid-19 epidemic, the health staff, hospitals, 108 van staff, Asha worker, Anganwadi workers, police system etc. play the most important role. Hence, survey is necessary to assess their needs. They do not have safety suits, ventilators are insufficient and the staff is insufficient. All such things like body disposal system should be surveyed and managed. They are coming in direct contact with people, hence what is needed for their security is also to be surveyed and their demand based requirement should be met with.
- Surveys should be conducted for calculating the costs for test and medicines for one covid-19 patients and the government should bear all the expenses.
- The police system is trying to keep people under control in lock-down situation. So their needs against the potential threat of corona should be evaluated. Whether the police need a safety suit or corona protective items, it should be surveyed and demand-based requirements should be put forth.
- Municipalities, Metropolitan Municipal Cleaning Workers, sanitation personnel, direct dirt cleaning people, sanitation workers are undertaking the work to sprinkle toxic drugs to prevent the further spread of covid-19. In such a situation, all of them are likely to be infected with coronavirus and likely to have adverse impact on their health. Therefore, the needs of all those should be assessed and survey should be conducted the supply should be provided as per their demands.
- Because of the lock down, employment of thousands of migrant local and inter-state labourers has stopped. They want to move to their village or state. In these circumstances all the needs of their livelihood, employment, return, travel to their village or state, etc. should be surveyed and supply should be provided as per Demand.
There are provisions for ‘communication’ in the guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan. So in the context of corona epidemic, “communication” should be specified and covered under the “Corona Disaster Management Plan, 2020”.
The guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan include advance arrangement for “Alert and Warning”.
Instead of making such arrangements people held rallies thereby increasing the chances of covid-19 infection. We demand that in “Corona Disaster Management Plan,2020” this issue should be included and implemented.
The guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan include advance arrangement for Transport (ESF, evacuation, relief supply).
At present, instead of making such arrangements by the system, inter-state workers and labourers of Gujarat are walking back to their respective states or villages and they do not have any arrangements for food. In the present circumstances, no arrangements have been done by government for the family in their village or state hence action should be taken to identify these groups and their housing and food supplies should be managed under the Corona Disaster Management Plan,2020″.
- Announcement of food arrangements for people with ration card of Gujarat has been made but there is no ration card of laborers from outside state so such labourers should be identified and food arrangements should be made for them.
- To provide food supply to migrant farm labourers, fishermen and other workers in other districts of the state of Gujarat, arrangements should be made and implemented in “Corona Disaster Management Plan,2020”
Guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan provides for provision of RAS (search and rescue):
Currently, in the entire country, covid-19 is spread through people coming from abroad. According to media reports, 27000 people have come to Gujarat from abroad and in industrial units, this number is high. So action to find such people should be taken fast. And for the prevention and spread of infection, search and Rescue should be fixed and implemented in the “Corona Disaster Management Plan,2020”.
Also, foreign ships are operating at Pipavav Port, Mundra Port, etc.
It is possible to spread the infection through the disposal of seawater or by contact with people in the port area. Hence, for fishermen and villages near the port area, movement of foreign ships arriving at port should be restricted and it should be fixed and implemented in “Corona Disaster Management Plan, 2020”.
Guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan provides for search Emergency Public Information:
In recent times it was very important to make people aware of the seriousness of the corona. Despite the rapid spread of covid-19 worldwide, efforts started too late for awareness and containment about the emergency situation. Therefore, people, not having a proper understanding of the emergency situation, went out to celebrate the situation with plates, bowls, shell etc. The conflict between the police and the people is increasing. People still get out on public roads, hold meetings on the streets, eventually the conflict between the police and the people has increased. Hence, this should be taken care of in “Corona Disaster Management Plan,2020”.
Guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan provides for Law and order / public protection:
In the current Corona epidemic, people are operating black market for such things as masks and sanitizers. It is necessary to identify several such law and order violation cases so that the Corona Disaster Management Plan calls for these issues to be addressed.
The District and Taluka Legal Services Authority Board should also hold certain responsibilities in this regard.
Guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan provides for Public Work:
In the present time, there is a complete lack of public service such as cleaning of dirt, disinfection by the Gram Panchayat or Municipality, Metropolitan Palika etc, and there is no modern equipment for this so this the arrangements should be made under Corona Disaster Management Plan for the same.
Under the current circumstances, the need for proper disposal of the medical waste, providing masks to the people, providing sanitizers should also be covered in the public service and sought to be fixed in “Corona Disaster Management Plan 2020”.
Guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan includes provision of Mass care / Emergency Assistance / shelters.
Those who have currently migrated to other villages or district or out of their home state for work are walking back to their respective states. So, some arrangements should be made under Corona Disaster Management Plan for their living in a community care / emergency care / shelter site.
Guidelines for preparation of disaster management plan include provision of “Health and Medical Services, psycho social care ie Social Services:
At the present time, most of these issues need systematic planning on issues such as health staff, medicines, safety equipment, hospital building, medical waste disposal, deed body disposal system, hospital and public sanitation.
It is our demand that provisions should be made in the “Corona Disaster Management Plan 2020” for the long-term health care arrangements for Anganwadi Workers, Asha Workers, Contract Base Workers and the staff of the police system who are working with public contact directly.
In the guidelines for preparing disaster management plans there is a provision for “Electricity purveyance system”:
In the context of the current corona epidemic, it is demanded that the “Corona Disaster Management Plan 2020” should be prepared in advance for the proper preparation of the power supply to the specialty hospitals.
In the guidelines for preparing disaster management plans the provision is made for “Resource management (including food and relief supplies and other logistic support)”:
In view of the corona epidemic, Demand Note for all the equipment needed by the hospital, police system, Gram Panchayat, Municipality, metropolitan corporation, rescue force, fair price shop should be prepared.
Not only people who are below poverty line but all those trapped in this situation should get food supplies and arrangement for their shelters should be made. All such minute details should be included in the “Corona Disaster Management Plan 2020” and should be implemented with full vigour.
In view of the points stated above, all the demands are pursuant to Section 37(1), 31 and 32 of the “Disaster Management Act-2005” as well as Section 15 and 16 of “Gujarat Disaster Management Act 2003” and Disaster Management Plan rules and the guidelines for the preparations of District Disaster Management Plan. So, the said demands should to be implemented immediately.
Our Demands to deliver reliefs and goods to common people during the epidemic of Covid 19 are as follows
- It came to our knowledge from the village of Thoradi, Taluka Savarkundla, Amreli district that the vegetable traders are ordering vegetables worth Rs 10,000 to 12,000 but due to closed auctions those vegetable stocks are deteriorating. So, in such situations the District Collector should give orders that by the use of transportations they buy the vegetables directly from the farmers and distribute them directly so that the farmers will not suffer major losses and the shortage of vegetables in the market won’t be created.
- Dhirubhai Ravjibhai Unawa, who is currently in Chataria village of the Dhuri taluka, but lives in Abhrampura village of Savarkundla Taluka as a labourer is not getting ration because of lockdown and there are number of such laborers living in each village. It is a request to do survey by anganvadi or Asha workers and make arrangements for their ration from respected village.
- From Savarkundla taluka, it has been observed that the farmers have sown the winter crop due to which many farmers’ wheat, Chickpeas are growing in the field. Due to lockdown, farmers are neither able to go to the farms nor able to kept them safe in the farms. Such a situation may lead to huge losses to the farmer. So, it is a request to make an arrangement of government vehicle that can be used as a transportation for farmers to reach at farm, this work can be completed within some days.
- In every PHC, order should be given that if a woman comes for delivery, then delivery should not be denied and every arrangement should be made. By field experiences it has come to our knowledge that in Loki village, Liliya taluka, Ashaben Batukbhai was taken to the Liliya PHC, and she was denied admission for delivery and asked to go to the Amreli Civil hospital, where too admission for delivery was denied. She was asked to go to Bhavnagar. Considering the emergency situation of the woman they went to the Private Radhika Hospital and the admission cost amounted to Rs 40,000/-. It is a responsibility of the government to take care that such kind of situations won’t arise.
- Sikandarbhai, who runs a small grocery store in Amba village, Taluka, Lilia, says that there are more people working in the village and they cook from local groceries bought from the markets. Due to the lockdown, people in the village buy the groceries from the same shop and the stocks have now been exhausted. They cannot go to the city to purchase goods. So, in such a small village arrangements for groceries and ration should be made.
- In the villages of Saldi, Punja Padar, Nanalilia, Gundaran, Bhoringada, Loki, in Taluka Lilia and Khakariya, Kotada Peetha, Untvad, Nilwada, Nawaniya, Charakha in Taluka Babra and Chittal taluka in Amreli, Aanganwadi sisters and Asha workers are not provided masks or sanitizers. This threatens the safety of these women.
- Talking to the Safai Kamdar Area of Chittal village Amreli taluka, it was found that the drugs and medicines were being sprayed in other areas but were not being spread in their area. Sanitation workers are serving as day laborers but no safety equipment is provided to them.
- There is a sub-centre in Khakhriya village but not enough medicines are available, arrangements for the same should be made and likewise request to stock enough medicines in every sub center and PHC.
- More than 3,000 people are currently living in Shiyalbet, Taluka Jaffarabad, District Amreli. The ration shop has not been opened in this village, so the food supply is not available to the people The village is an island, so all the food supplies are brought in from outside. Since the food has to come from outside, the situation is going to get worse in the coming days, even the gas cylinders are brought from Jafarabad which is 40 Km away. It is a request to give special attention to the matter as there will be a need to provide supplies.
- Work is underway in Pipavav Port, and there are more than 500 laborers in Rajula and surrounding villages. The workers are concerned about their own safety, but the order of Collector Amreli has continued to make the port work as a necessary service. These 50 laborers travel in the same bus, which gives rise to the possibility of infecting each other and hence the port should be closed immediately and the child laborers should be quarantined and the necessary relief supplies should be provided.
- People of Una taluka’s Tad, Deshar, Kalapan, Delvada, Anjar, Paldi Pawana, Vasoj, Khan have been taken to Mumbai for labour work and now they have become unemployed due to lockdown and there are various problems, mostly related to food. Most of them are ready to move back. Identification, of the which area in which they are in, should be done and special bus facility to bring them should be started.
*Prepared by the Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad