Nuh: There are rows of trucks along the empty highway from Gurugram towards the district of Nuh in Haryana. The region is home to a number of truck drivers but most of them are harvesting wheat on fields alongside the roads — a routine they carry out in this season every year.
Nuh has been in the news as it accounts for the largest number of coronavirus cases in Haryana. Of the 185 cases in the state as of Tuesday, 45 are from Nuh district.
The Nuh Deputy Commissioner, Pankaj, told ThePrint that of the 45 patients, 37 are associated with the Tabligi Jamaat and one is a truck driver. The remaining seven patients are either family members or neighbours who came in contact with the truck driver.
“Until now, about 1,200 drivers have returned and only one of them has been found to be Covid-19 positive. The situation is completely under control for now but we are fully prepared for the battle lying ahead,” Pankaj said.
He added that the administration has been receiving support from panchayats and religious leaders to spread awareness about the virus.
“At present, there are 150 isolation beds at hospitals in the district. About 90 patients from three other districts are also admitted in Nuh. We are also operating four quarantine centres and another one is about to be started.”
Lockdown in Nuh
Much like in the rest of the country, empty streets and downed shutters are the norm in Nuh. But DC Pankaj said that in 34 of the 443 villages and in two of the towns in the district, the lockdown has been stringent.
“We have completely cordoned off 36 villages, including two kasbas (towns). Home delivery of essentials like groceries and vegetables has already started,” Pankaj said. “There is complete restriction on public movement.”
He added that with the help of ASHA and anganwadi workers, the district administration has managed to conduct door-to-door screening of about 1.2 million residents of the district in the last 10 days.
“About 20 villages are yet to be screened but the task will be completed there very soon,” he said.
Pankaj further said that in the rest of the villages, the administration has allowed agrarian work to continue.
“No pass is required for single persons (individuals) engaged in harvesting work. But passes are being issued to combines and threshers coming in from other states,” the DCP said.
“Besides this, procurement of mustard crop will start from 15 April and for wheat crop the initial date of procurement has been fixed at 20 April,” he added. “For this, panchayats will be issued fixed schedules along with a list of farmers so that social distancing can be adhered to at the time of procurement process.”
Also read: Haryana doubles salaries of healthcare officials and workers fighting Covid-19
One village completely sealed
The administration has completely sealed Khanpur Ghati village, about 30 km from the district headquarters at Nuh, after six people tested Covid-19 positive on a single day.
There is a blanket ban on all types of movement while a team of doctors has been conducting three rounds of visits every day. Even media access to the village has been completely blocked.
Police have been maintaining a strict vigil at all entry points to the village.
Religious leaders come forward to help
DC Pankaj said panchayats and religious leaders have extended their full support to the administration.
“Clergy members from the districts have issued appeals in audio and video format urging people to offer namaz from inside their homes. Besides they are also advising people to fully comply with lockdown rules,” Pankaj said.
Mufti Zahid Hussain, chief of Nuh’s bada madrasa, told ThePrint that he has been ensuring awareness on the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.
Apart from him, Hameem Uddin Ashraf Utawadi, vice-president of the Jamiat Ulama, Haryana-Punjab-Himachal Pradesh, has also released a video urging people to follow all directions issued by the central government.
Also read: Haryana bans chewing gums to check Covid-19. Experts say no proof of link but praise move
- The copy has been updated to correct the designation of Pankaj who is is the Nuh deputy commissioner and not the deputy commissioner of police.