A first-time woman Gram Pradhan’s (elected village head) comprehensive initiative to keep her villagers safe has caught the attention of the nation. 

Varsha Singh of Nakti Dei Bujurg village, in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, where three thousand people live, tells us, “We have sanitised our village thrice using bleaching powder solutions since the lockdown began. Fogging is also done. Immediately after the lockdown was announced, we held a meeting the auxillary midwife-nurses (ANM) and women who run the rural childcare centres (Aanganwadi worker). Through them we informed villagers to stay indoors and follow social distancing. We also distributed sanitiser and soap to each household and distributed 500 masks.”

“We have sanitised our village thrice using bleaching powder solutions since the lockdown began. Fogging is also done. Immediately after the lockdown was announced, we held a meeting with the auxiliary midwife-nurses (ANM) and women who run the rural childcare centres (Aanganwadi worker). Through them, we informed villagers to stay indoors and follow social distancing. We also distributed sanitiser and soap to each household and distributed 500 masks.”

Varsha Singh, Gram Pradhan, Nakti Dei Bujurg village

Singh has ensured the supply of essential food items to the villagers without violating social distancing and lockdown norms. 

“Initially we faced a little difficulty. But then we identified grocery stores and volunteers in the village. We formed several teams of volunteers. People call or message their list of grocery items to shop owners and volunteers deliver those items at home. That’s how we have ensured social distancing,” says Varsha. 

Poor families of migrant labourers who have lost work due to lockdown have also been provided ration and other essential food items. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has applauded the efforts of Singh during his interaction with the village heads from across the country on Panchayatiraj Day on Friday.