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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Managing a district in times of a Covid-19 crisis: No fixed work hours, no off days, and complete accountability

On a daily basis, the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur meets over 150 persons for various works — ranging from his core team to Kirana vendors and chemist association representatives.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Sangrur | April 6, 2020 2:14:48 am
india lockdown quarantine, coronavirus punjab lockdown news, punjab coronavirus india cases, punjab Coronavirus, punjab coronavirus news, coronavirus india news updates, covid-19 death toll Ghanshyam Thori , Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur, outside civil hospital. (Express)

For Ghanshyam Thori, the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur, the day starts at 5 am and never ends before 1 am. There are no fixed hours and no off days. “In times of Covid-19 management, you not only have to maintain supply chains, listen to the grievances but also maintain safety standards. Over 4,000 staff members work on rotation in the entire district — spreading awareness and ensuring supply chains work smoothly at various levels,” Thori.

In order to ensure that people stay inside their homes, Thori has introduced a total of 2,500 helpline numbers for door-to-door delivery. Out of the total, 1800 numbers work in 599 panchayats while the remaining numbers are for urban wards to supply ration and medicine.

Above all, people need to be motivated and are told about the importance of working from home (WFH). Thori has explained to his staff what is WFH and even given some material on it. “It is a new concept and hence they need to know, be available for calls and texts and above all, not move out else they’ll defeat the very purpose of WFH,” said Thori. The department heads have been told by the DC to keep interacting with their staff and ask whether they are staying home, and not meeting people, and also inquire about their health.

On a daily basis, the DC meets over 150 persons for various works — ranging from his core team to Kirana vendors and chemist association representatives. In between, he has to visit slums to distribute ration and to make sure things are running smoothly elsewhere in the jurisdiction. For instance, many times in the morning, Thori has to make the rounds of the local sabzi mandis to check whether the wholesalers are giving vegetables to retailers at reasonable prices or not.

The DC’s wife, Dr Gagan Kundra, who is an IRS officer and is posted in the same district as Deputy Commissioner Income tax, is a medical doctor by training. Dr Kundra has volunteered to work for Covid-19 management plan. “It is a time to work as a doctor, though I have timelines for my Income Tax work as well. But at this juncture, I want to be part of medicos to serve the patients. I am available if the need arises,” said Dr Kundra.

As of now, the door-to-door supply of ration is going on via Zomato while other private vendors also distribute. Chemists are also supplying medicines, but despite that complaints do come. Till now 528 complaints have been registered on helpline numbers; these are being addressed by the concerned departments.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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