Chhattisgarh IAS Rajat Bansal and his strategic fight against Corona and Malaria in Bastar District

The corona virus pandemic has taken the form of a dominant challenge for the world community. Amidst all the negative news that has been surrounding us, Rajat Bansal, the young and dynamic collector of the far-flung Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, is working round the clock to help people deal with the virus. The young collector has taken commendable initiative of going among the public in order to educate them on how to prevent oneself from getting infected. The outlying district is found to have been doing better, after this young leader came forward to join hands with people to tackle this deadly virus.
Collector arrived with PPE Kit at Dimrapal Medical College to meet the patients
The young collector not only took immediate cognizance on receiving complaints regarding the poor quality of food and facilities being provided to the patients in Dimrapal Medical College, but he himself visited the COVID centre, along with Assistant Collector Reena Jamil and Chief Doctor Dr Naveen Dulhani wearing a PPE kit. COVID patients were amazed to see their leader himself coming there to take stock of the situation. Upon reaching there, the collector immediately took to heeding to patients’ problems. Bansal instructed the medical college administration to arrange for better quality food for patients. He said that if required the district administration will bear the additional expenses if any, to enhance the food stock. Patients have also been facilitated to connect directly to the concerned officials through a special WhatsApp group created for them. After the young leader’s visit, the food quality was reported to have been improved drastically within 24 hours itself. The officials have been regularly visiting to inspect the conditions of COVID centers now and making sure that nothing but the best service and treatment is being ensured to the patients.
Announcement of incentive for health workers
Amid the said crisis, the collector has also expressed his sensitivity and gratitude by announcing incentives for the health workers who are working ceaselessly, to take care of the patients. Under the said scheme, the Teams collecting COVID samples on field will be provided Rs 200 each, Rs 100 each for the team members collecting samples in hospitals and an amount of Rs 100 for those collecting blood samples have been announced. Meanwhile, incentives amounting to Rs 3000 have been announced for the ambulance drivers. Some additional bonus will also be sanctioned to these health workers.
New dialysis ward set up within 24 hours
Not only COVID, but many other serious cases apart from covid were also constantly coming to fore in Bastar. One of the major problems was the absence of dialysis facility. About 350 COVID patients in Bastar were reported to need regular dialysis for better recovery. Due to the pandemic, the dialysis unit at Maharani Hospital in the district was shut down. When the issue was taken to the collector, he got a separate dialysis unit prepared for the Medical College Jagdalpur and it started operating within 24 hours. The arrangements have been made for a change in the lives of many who do not have to wander for facilities anymore.
Results are achieved only after working at the grass-root levels – IAS Rajat Bansal
“Policies and rules are being made every day to improve the system; however the change can only be brought in, after we personally monitor the working at the ground level. It is very important to think from a humane perspective as well as from an administrative point of view in this crisis-like situation. It was definitely a pleasant feeling to meet the patients immediately and I will keep meeting the needy directly, whenever the need be,” said Rajat Bansal. He added that officials need to show humanity and understand the emotional difficulties of public as well to swim through this crisis. While it is necessary to maintain physical distancing, there should not be a psychological distance between people and officials, the young leader highlighted. 
Unique initiative Yuvodaya: 6000 youth working with UNICEF to fight COVID
Collector Rajat Bansal along with UNICEF has jointly started the Yuvodaya initiative under which six thousand young warriors are working on ground to ensure overall development of Bastar.Youngsters are running awareness campaigns in every village to fight the virus, promote tourism and ensure livelihood solutions for Bastar people, for this, special training is also being given to the young brave hearts. Under this initiative, there is no age constraint for the youth, anyone who wants to join the campaign may anytime do the same to eradicate the virus and be an aid to the public. 
Collector speaks in Halbi dialect to connect with tribals
More than a dozen dialects are spoken along the seven districts of Bastar division – which is dominated among the tribals. Among these, Halbi, Bhatri, Gondi, Dorli and Dhurvi dialects are prominent. Since all the administrative work is done in Hindi or English communication, it creates a huge conversation gap between the officials and tribals. Keeping this in mind, Rajat Bansal has now released a video message in Halbi dialect for tribals to spread awareness about common diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, etc in the rainy season. In his said message, he spoke of cautions and treatments relating to diseases like cholera, diarrhea, malaria, TB, snakebite, etc. His efforts are now bridging the ever-existing gap between the administration and tribals. 
The young collector takes the initiative to go among the villagers and personally heed to their problems
Be it, visiting any tribal-dominated village of the remote area without any prior notice, and humbly sitting down with the villagers like their very own family member, having a homely meal with them to sleeping on a cot or the ground, collector Rajat Bansal has time and again displayed his grounded qualities of being sensitive towards people’s problems and being down-to-earth at the same time. The collector even walks around the villages to inspect the effective implementation of the government schemes and talk to the villagers about the issues which they are facing and thereby organize a village chaupal along with the concerned officials to solve their problems.
Malaria cases fall by 65% in Bastar
There was a time when malaria used to cause more deaths than Naxal violence in Bastar. With the arrival of the rainy season, not only the villagers but the soldiers deployed in the area would also fall into the grip of the mosquito-borne diseases. But Bastar’s scenario is now changing. While Naxalism is gradually coming to an end, the people have also joined hands with the health workers to beat-up malaria. Collector Bansal has launched the malaria-free Bastar campaign in association with the state government and results of the same are evident.  So far, malaria cases have decreased by a whopping 65% this year in Bastar which is but a commendable figure
Impact in ground and commendable result is all possible due to combination of the best of efforts, technology, and public policy approaches and most importantly able leadership of District Collector Rajat Bansal.

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