New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus scare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deputed his Cabinet colleagues to oversee the corona situation in their assigned areas/states and report to him daily on the ground situation, sources said on Saturday.
The sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that different ministers were entrusted with the responsibility on March 26, though the work gathered speed only when Modi held a videoconference with his ministerial colleagues on April 6.
The sources said that these ministers monitored the ground situation throughout the day, collected relevant information and sent reports to the PMO every evening.
Many a times, Modi phoned up his colleagues to get the reports orally and give necessary directions also, they said.
Mahendra Nath Pandey has been assigned 20 districts in Uttar Pradesh, including Noida, Faridabad, Ita, and Itawah.
“He daily contacts the DMs, SSPs, CMOs concerned and takes information on coronavirus cases, apart from administrative and health arrangements made etc. The Minister also calls up BJP workers to cross-check whether the government’s relief package is reaching the people on the ground or not,” his aides told IANS.
They said that the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, who is a member of the Lok Sabha from Chandauli, keeps an eye on small and big developments in his assigned districts from morning till evening.
Similarly, Minorities Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been assigned Jharkhand, and he too follows a similar routine of contacting officials concerned and party workers and others for the feedback.
The sources said that the Prime Minister had directed his Ministers to increase their dialogue/contacts with the district officials in order to know the actual ground situation in their respective areas and also issue directions, if necessary.
The Ministers were also directed to find solutions to problems like shortage of Personal Protection Equipment kits, ration, medicines etc.
Apart from Pandey, Rajnath Singh, Sanjeev Balyan and Krishan Pal Gurjar too have been assigned various districts of Uttar Pradesh to monitor.
VK Singh has been assigned Assam affairs, Dharmendra Pradhan Odisha, Arjun Munda Chhattisgarh, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Punjab and Rajasthan, and Ram Vilas Paswan and Ravishankar Prasad Bihar.
The points that are covered on a daily basis are the number of coronavirus tests conducted, new cases detected, total number of positive cases, availability of wheat, rice and other ration items to people, whether social distancing norms are followed at PDS shops, redress of complaints of the public, doctors and nurses etc.
Information is also collected on action taken against black marketeers and those who violate the lockdown etc.
Modi had directed his Ministers to ensure availability of ration, milk and other essentials at reasonable prices in their assigned districts.
The Ministers have been specifically directed to see if the relief announced under the Rs 1,70,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana package is reaching the intended beneficiaries or not.
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