Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur is near three districts of Maharashtra — Jalgaon, Aurangabad and Amravati —some of the areas most affected by the coronavirus in the state. And the family and business relations between people on either side of the border, and the constant travel that it entailed, has the Burhanpur administration worried.
Burhanpur had seen a surge of Covid-19 cases in May, but with less than 500 cases at present, it is now not even among the 10 worst affected districts in MP. And in an attempt to capitalise on the gains made in the last few weeks in its fight against the virus, the authorities have administered an oath in Hindi and Marathi to hundreds of residents of the district, in which they pledge to “not visit hotspots/severely infected towns for some time and will not invite any acquaintance to Burhanpur district without reason”.
Titled ‘I will not visit hotspot towns’, the pledge lists towns in Maharashtra, MP and other parts of the country that people should avoid visiting or calling people from those places to Burhanpur.
Burhanpur Collector Pravin Singh told The Indian Express that the idea behind the campaign was to restrict unnecessary travel. He said posters have been stuck at public places and in rural areas sarpanches and kotwars are being involved to administer the oath.
When the unlock phase began, the administration increased vigil on the main roads and sealed smaller routes used by people on either side. The administration made online passes compulsory for travel. When the movement did not reduce, it stopped the system of online passes and made it offline. Even then, the number of people flooding the collectorate for passes was still substantial.
A majority of people whose infection was detected during the fortnight long ‘Kill Corona’ campaign that concluded on July 15 had travelled to Jalgaon, Muktainagar and Aurangabad. The collector said most of the travel was avoidable. He said people will be sensitised against travelling or holding and participating in gatherings.
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