Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday announced a 'corona-free village' contest with an aim to managing the spread of infection in rural Maharashtra.
The contest, which is part of 'My Village Corona Free' initiative of the state government, aims to reward three village panchayats in each revenue division of the state for good work in COVID-19 management.
State Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif said there will be a total of 18 prizes, three each in the six revenue divisions in the state, with total prize money being Rs 5.4 crore.
The best performing village in each revenue division will get Rs 50 lakh prize money, the second performer will get Rs 25 lakh and third Rs 15 lakh, the minister added.
The winners will also get an additional amount, equivalent to the prize money, as encouragement for the development of those villages, he said.
He further said the participating villages will be judged on 22 criteria set by a committee.
Thackeray in a virtual address May 30 lauded Maharashtra’s youngest sarpanch Ruturaj Deshmukh (21) and his task force for making Ghatne village in Solapur district coronavirus-free.
The village, with a population of 1,500, had not reported any COVID-19 cases from March 2020 to the first week of April 2021, when it reported two cases, according to a PTI report.
Both the patients died, triggering panic in the village. It was then that Deshmukh decided to involve all stakeholders to create awareness about fighting the disease in the village. He and his team framed a five-point programme -- tracing, testing, treatment, vaccination and adherence to the COVID appropriate behaviour, besides roping in the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers and police for helping them in the task.
Maharashtra reported 15,169 new COVID cases and 285 deaths in the last 24 hours. With 29,270 recoveries in the last 24 hours, the recovery rate in the state is 94.54 percent. At present, the state's caseload is 57,76,184, while the death count is 96,483.
(Edited by: By Shoma)