OdishaPlus Corona Bureau
Amid the growing concern over the shortage of protective gear as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, self-help groups (SHGs) in Odisha have manufactured over one million masks for distribution among people. At least 400 SHGs – under the Odisha government led ‘Mission Shakti’ program – have come forward to make around 50,000 masks every day, as part of its efforts to help the state government in its fight against the dreaded viral disease. Ms. Sujata R Karthikeyan, Commissioner -cum- Director Mission Shakti and Department of W&CD, Govt. of Odisha said “Women SHGs have been at the forefront of Odisha’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic and they have already made close to 12 lakh masks to be supplied to everyone in the state in times of crisis. As the police are keeping a strict vigil on people outside, I would like to request all women of the state to keep a vigil inside their homes so that everyone stays home and stays safe during the lockdown period.”
SHGs in the state have risen to the occasion to supply masks at affordable rates. Despite unfavourable circumstances, these women continue to contribute toward public health. Some of these groups have also been visiting villages across the state to generate awareness on the disease and distribute cooked food among the poor, in the midst of the 21-day nationwide lockdown. With the help of district officials, these self-help groups have also set up temporary outlets to ensure a steady supply of food grains, vegetables, and fruits to common people.
Lauding their efforts, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had recently said that “it was heartening to see the all-round response of women, especially members of Mission Shakti Self-Help Groups, during this critical time”. Among others, Union PNG Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has also showered praise on the SHGs.”Our #NariShakti in Odisha is working round the clock to ensure the state emerges out of this crisis in quick time,” he had tweeted.