The panel discussion on rural realities in Uttar Pradesh during the Covid-19 second wave highlighted the working experiences of various professionals especially in the wake of the second wave of COVID in Indian villages. It was organized by Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and of “Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi” on 19th May, 2021 by the joint efforts of “Parmarth Sevi Sanstha” (Uttar Pradesh).
The focal point of the discussion was the need to focus on the rural reality of the state of Uttar Pradesh and its related issues.
This program was initiated by Ritika Gupta (Assistant Director) of IMPRI Institute of Impact and Policy Research. Also, by Dr Simi Mehta, who while welcoming the panelists, said that the goal of this is a comprehensive discussion on the situation of second wave of COVID in the state of Uttar Pradesh and the efforts being made at the ground level by the stakeholders.
Prof. Amita Singh (Chairman, NAPSIPAG Center for Disaster Research, Delhi, Retd., Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)) took over the conduct of this forum, acting as a moderator. Other eminent panelists included Khalid Choudhary ( Regional Manager, (Uttar Pradesh), Action Aid India, Neelam Verma (State Coordinator (Uttar Pradesh), Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS)), Vivek Awasthi (Executive Director, U.P. Volunteer Health Association).
Dr. Sanjay Singh (Secretary, Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan, Jhansi), Lenin Raghuvanshi (Founder and CEO, People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Varanasi), Saurabh Lal (CEO, Model Village), Saurabh Singh (Chief) Functionary, Inner Voice Foundation Community Arsenic Mitigation and Research Organization (CAMRO),Sandeep Abasaheb Chavan (Project Lead, Tata Trusts, Gorakhpur, Homoeopathic Doctor, Public Health Professional), Dr. Hira Lal (Indian Administrative Servant and Consultant, Model Village) were some of the other speakers during the discussion.
Availability of Vaccines in Villages
Dr. Sanjay Singh (Secretary, Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan, Jhansi) has given his opinion widely and said that it is a big state of Uttar Pradesh which mainly consists of 5 agro-climatic regions – Oudh, Bundelkhand, Purvanchal, Vindhyachal. At the same time, the preparations of the government under this second wave of Covid are challenging in terms of the population of the state.
In addition, the main focus of state governments over the past few decades has been to improve urban facilities and this has led to inadequate availability of primary community health centers at the village level, as well as acute shortage of health workers.
In this context, it is questioned why the rural areas of the state have to bear the brunt of this global calamity. There are mainly three reasons for this:
1. The people of the villages, showing dogma, did not take this wave seriously and kept worry-free considering the situation of last year’s Covid.
2. The problem of migrant labor once again struck the rural economic structure and showed a pathetic condition.
3. The dependence of the people of the villages on the parasitic doctors and doubts regarding the testing, prevention and vaccination and etc. related to Covid also created an environment of challenge.
At the same time, in view of the Panchayat elections, there was resentment towards the system among the people of the state and religious and social orthodoxy in the rural population also created an atmosphere of fear and the death rate increased tremendously.
Ultimately, Dr. Sanjay Singh said that the wave of COVID has been appalling at the grassroots level.
There is a need to encourage all social and economic organizations to take responsibility for vaccination in this direction.
At the same time, the state government will have to make all appropriate efforts on the above-mentioned issues like availability and implementation of medical facilities, rehabilitation etc.