Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: At a time when people across Odisha are encountering numerous problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling to put their lives back on track, the absence and lack of support from their elected representatives is a glaring omission.

With economic activity coming to a grinding halt, livelihoods have been endangered. The problem is even more acute in Odisha, where the migrants, who returned from other States, are yet to be rehabilitated and staring at an uncertain future.

With several videos flooding social media alleging irregularities and poor facilities at various temporary medical centres (TMCs) and COVID Care Centres (CCC) in the State, there have been widespread allegations that the elected representatives have betrayed their people at this time of a pandemic.

“When people are suffering, the elected representatives are missing,” said a resident.

To further substantiate the allegations, one has to look no further than Ganjam district, which has been the worst-affected. The COVID19 death toll in Ganjam has touched 48 while cases reached 4,867 today. Despite the worsening COVID-19 situation in Ganjam, two MPs and 13 MLAs from the district are missing since the outbreak of the disease, alleged local residents.

Locals fumed citing that politicians visited Surat to woo the migrant population during elections, but now they have forgotten the Surat returnees.

“It is now four months that we are locked inside our homes. We have not seen our elected local representatives,” alleged a Ganjam district resident.

During such testing times, police personnel and district administration officials are working round the clock and ensuring proper implementation of lockdown and shutdown restrictions in different parts of the State.

Earlier, Gopalpur MLA Pradip Panigrahy had written to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requesting inclusion of elected representatives in COVID-19 management.

But, the question remains: who has stopped the elected representatives to stand by their people in such desperate times? Not only people, even opposition leaders are hurt by the lack of participation of MPs and MLAs in COVID19 management.

“The silence of elected representatives is condemnable. Only saying that our focus is now on Ganjam will not work unless massive efforts are taken on the ground. As Ganjam is now a hotspot, 5,000 tests should be conducted per day and plasma therapy should also be introduced,” said Bibhuti Jena, BJP's Ganjam district president.
Not a single minister, MLA or MP are seen on the ground when people need them most, said Pitabas Panda, Congress working president of Ganjam district.

Though Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahy & Berhampur MP Chandrasekhar Sahu were contacted, they refused to comment on the matter.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

Also Read: COVID-19: Odisha Announces 14-Day Complete Lockdown In 4 High Caseload-Districts