Nalgonda: At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is on the rampage across the world, and the second wave in India infiltrating rural areas too, it is difficult to comprehend how some villages have remained Covid-free as in the case of three tribal thandas in erstwhile Nalgonda district.
Yenagandi thanda and Dubba Gundla thanda in Choutuppal mandal of Yadadri-Bhongir district and Chennugudem in Nalgonda district have not reported a single case of Coronavirus since the pandemic broke out in 2020. Leave alone testing positive for the virus, the residents of these villages have not even developed any symptoms remotely associated with Coronavirus, and the reasons, villagers elders say, are discipline in maintaining Covid protocol and possibly their dietary habits. The efforts of the sarpanches, ward members and gram panchayat workers coupled with the cooperation extended by the residents have kept the virus at bay so far.
Yenagandi thanda, just eight km away from suburban Choutuppal with a population of 700 and Dubbagunla thanda, with a population of 300, have attracted the attention of the entire State with their achievement. The Health Department staff recently carried out Rapid Antigen Tests on 400 resident in Yenagandi thanda random and none of them tested positive, indeed an achievement given the positivity rate elsewhere. The tribal inhabitants of these two thandas believe that their food habits besides the precautionary measures they took had helped them stay healthy.
Yenagandi thanda sarpanch Karamtoth Narsimha Naik told Telangana Today that the gram panchayat set up up mike sets across the village to educate the people about Covid-19 norms and advised them against visiting other villages and towns unless they had some urgent work. “We have arranged for a few vegetable vendors to come to the village every day to meet the residents’ requirements. We advised people not to visit Choutuppal for vegetables and other items as incidence of Covid-19 cases is high in the town,” he said.
The gram panchayat also slaps a hefty penalty of Rs 1,000 against those who venture out without face masks. Only activities related to agriculture and national job guarantee works are allowed in the village, Naik said, adding that gram panchayat workers spray sodium hypochlorite in the village every day. The villagers have also been asked not to allow any relatives from other villages to visit their homes as a precautionary measure. “The resident are following all these measures which has helped in the village remaining Covid-free so far,” he said.
Peranthoru Raju, a resident, said they wash their hands and legs before entering the house after working in agriculture fields. “All the villagers wear face masks without fail. Since the entire population comprises only tribal community, the food habits are same and our meals are made of jowar and millets that help build immunity,” he said.
Chennugudem, a village in Nalgonda district with a population of 1200, has also succeeded in keeping the virus away by adopting self- imposed restrictions. The gram panchyat adopted a resolution making wearing of face masks mandatory for everyone. Not even a single person was found with symptoms of any illness during door-to-door fever survey conducted by Health workers recently.
Village sarpanch Gundeboina Srilath said youngsters were appointed as volunteers to ensure strict implementation of the ‘mask on’ rule besides ensuring social distancing by the villagers. The villagers stick to the Covid norms even while they are at work in agriculture fields or NREGP works. “We distributed masks to all the people in the village. Not a single case of Covid-19 has been reported since the pandemic broke out,” she said.
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