Kalyansinghpur: After much reluctance, members of Dongria Kondh living in Niyamgiri hills of Rayagada district finally agreed to undergo Covid-19 test on Thursday.
The development came following a persistent effort of five days by the district administration to spread awareness about the pandemic among the Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
The local administration will organise two testing camps in two panchayats of Kalyansinghpur block to collect swab samples of the people from tomorrow.
“After much effort we were able to convince the Dongria Kondh tribes to undergo Covid-19 test, to keep the pandemic in check in the area. We will start collecting swabs at two Panchayats Kalyansinghpur block from tomorrow,” said Rayagada Sub-Collector Pratap Chandra Pradhan.
“Anganwadi workers will do regular thermal screening of the people suffering from cough, cold and fever in the area. We are hopeful that people of the area will cooperate us from now onwards,” said Pradhan.
Earlier, the tribals in Parsali village of Kalyansingpur and Gandili village of Bissamcuttack block had refused to undergo Covid-19 tests citing various reasons.
"Covid-19 does not exist. Nothing will happen to us as we worship Niyam Raja," said Niyamgiri Surakhya Manch president Sakaka Ulaka justifying the reason behind their hesitation to the test.
The local administration initiated awareness drives for the PVTGs about Covid-appropriate behaviour and need to get tested. After much effort they were somehow able to convince them.
According to sources, a total of 19 people belonging to the Dongaria Kondh tribe are affected by the disease so far.