Bhubaneswar: Anticipating return of large number of Odia migrant labourers in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today directed senior officers appointed as COVID-19 observers for different districts to double the man days under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme (NREGS).
During a discussion with the COVID-19 observers through video-conferencing the Chief Minister asked the officials to make the job scheme target oriented and increase the present five lakh man days under the NREGS to 10 lakh man days daily in next one week.
Also, he directed the Forest Department to begin labour-based works while ensuring the livelihood of kendu leaf pluckers and binders remains protected.
Patnaik also asked the observers to look into the food security of Odia migrant labourers when they return after the lockdown. Whether the migrant labourers hold NFSA/SFSA ration card or not, they should not face any difficulties in getting grains, the Chief Minister told the officials.
He asked the senior officers to work on tackling COVID-19 with extra attention as it is not an additional responsibility.
Keeping the possible scenario during next 8-10 days in mind, he directed the officials to be prepared and create opportunities for Odia migrant labourers at panchayat level. Especially quarantine centres at panchayat level must get the priority.
He asked the officials to take steps to ensure COVID-19 testing at ICMR approved private labs and increase the sample testing capacity to 15,000.
Among others, Chief Secretary, Development Commissioner, DGP, Agriculture Production Commissioner, 5-T Secretary and the COVID-19 observers were present in the video conferencing.