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A total of 314 members of particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) families were infected by COVID-19, but none of them died as the state government stood by them during the pandemic, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday.

During their sickness, the PVTG patients were given a ration kit worth Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,800 as wage compensation, Patnaik said.

While disbursing special COVID assistance of Rs 5,000 each to 64,214 PVTG persons through virtual mode, the chief minister asked them to get vaccinated against the disease and abide by the norms of social distancing and wearing masks.

The assistance will be transferred to the bank account of the beneficiaries, he said.

"You are not alone, the state government is all along with you (tribals) during the crisis. I know that the pandemic has affected the livelihoods of the poor people in the state. The government is with you. The government is working for your welfare," Patnaik said.

There are a total of 1,679 PVTG villages in the state.

Patnaik also disbursed pre-matric scholarships to 60,000 scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students for April, May, and June.

Since the children are staying in their homes since the outbreak of the pandemic, the scholarship amount will be deposited in the bank accounts of their parents or guardians.

While a girl student will get Rs 2,400, each boy student will get Rs 2,250. A total of five lakh students will benefit from the facility.

The chief minister also interacted with some PVTG families in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts on the virtual mode.

Lahri Gundia of Rayagada, Ratni Majhi of Kalahandi, and several other beneficiaries thanked Patnaik for the special assistance of Rs 5,000 to each PVTG family. 

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