New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said despite a population of nearly 24 crore, Uttar Pradesh managed to check the spread of coronavirus and overcame apprehensions on how the pandemic would impact the state.
Interacting with representatives of various Varanasi-based non-government organisations via video link, he said Kashi has vigorously countered the unprecedented coronavirus crisis.
Varanasi, which is also known as Kashi, is the prime minister’s parliamentary constituency.
He recalled that a 100 years ago, a pandemic had struck. Though the population of India was much smaller, it was among the countries that had witnessed maximum deaths, he pointed out.
This time too, during the outbreak of coronavirus, experts had raised concerns about India, he said adding that issues such as rise in virus cases due to movement of migrants and food for the needy were flagged.
There were doubts and apprehensions about Uttar Pradesh too with a population of 23-24 crore.
With the hard work of the people and their cooperation, the apprehensions were overcome, he said.
Modi noted that Brazil too has a population comparable to Uttar Pradesh but it witnessed thousands of deaths due to the virus. In Uttar Pradesh the deaths due to COVID-19 are reported to be nearly 800, he pointed out.
He said the state checked the pace of COVID-19 spread and also those infected with the virus are recovering fast.
The prime minister also hailed the role of people, authorities and NGOs of Varanasi in helping the needy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged citizens to strictly adhere to guidelines to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
He said Varanasi can emerge as an export hub and develop as a key centre of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign in the coming days.
During the nationwide lockdown, the residents of Varanasi and members of social organisations, through their own efforts as well as by providing assistance to the district administration, ensured that food was timely available for everyone in need.
More than a hundred organisations in Varanasi distributed almost 20 lakh food packets and two lakh dry ration kits through the food cell of the district administration, as well as through individual efforts during the lockdown period.
Apart from food distribution, these organisations were instrumental in distribution of masks, sanitisers and other items. They have been honoured as ‘corona warriors’ by the district administration.
During the event, Modi was briefed about the various steps and measures that the NGOs took to the help the needy, including distribution of free rations and cooked food, opening of mobile ATMs and proving assistance to those in need of medical care.
Referring to the various schemes initiated by the central government to help various sections of the society during the lockdown, Modi said the Centre has made constant efforts to share the suffering of the common people and to reduce it.
The poor get ration, have few rupees in their pocket, have employment and can take loan for their work, he said. (PTI)
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