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District Administration-Ranchi has been on the front foot to combat Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning. They started taking immediate measures, such as placing adequate checkpoints at areas that were exposed to people travelling in from outside Ranchi and planned to work on preventive measures instead of the curative ones.
The administration began its work by outlining a plan and releasing guidelines on Covid-19 preparedness. These guidelines had information on all the sub-groups defined by the administration and gave their interventions a structure.
While following this, they stumbled upon the shortage and affordability of a basic need during the Coronavirus outbreak – Hand Sanitizers. Markets were locking down on them, sanitisers were already being sold at around five times the price and it was becoming an exclusive product. To tackle this situation, they tried to create alternate solutions for an efficient hand rub.
To initiate this, it was decided to utilise their resources and reach-out to professors at BIT Mesra and BITS Pilani to understand how a plant can be set-up. The administration realised that WHO1 has laid-out guidelines for in-house production of alcohol based hand rubs, i.e., 80%(v/v) ethnol or 75% (v/v) isopropyl alcohol with 1.45% (v/v) glycerol and 0.125% (v/v) Hydrogen Peroxide, colouring/fragrance if required and QS water.
Upon testing a formulation and being sure of its quality, they initiated the next step to institutionalise the process. After looking through the district, research laboratories and others organisations were invited for a meeting, who had storage capacities and had usage license to ethanol. A research laboratory with suitable requisites was finalised and requisitioned under DDMA. Thus, the first batch of 150 liters of hand sanitiser was produced. After an overnight battle of getting it right, our first batch was dispatched to BIT Mesra for approval.
At BIT Mesra, the Department of Chemical Engineering certified that ethanol meets the required production standards and a certificate of approval was provided. In order to evaluate whether the plant meets the given standards, professors from BIT Mesra were invited to visit the plant and check the production quality of the product. The professors played an inevitable role in the quality control of the product. Upon verification, the following distributive batches were delivered. The product was delivered to Sadar Hospital, Private Hospitals, Front Line Workers, Police, Army and the public. On the first two days, around 10,000 liters each were distributed and now, close to 7,000 liters of hand rub is being sent out every day. The beneficiaries aren’t just limited to Ranchi as various other districts, such as Jamshedpur, Dumka, Godda, Gumla, Garhwa, Pakur are reaping the benefits. Soon, the distribution of hand sanitisers will be extended to Rohtas District in Bihar, Aurangabad District in Bihar and West Sikkim.
Next in line, conceived of a similar situation, was the production of face masks. The District Administration-Ranchi collaborated with small textile factories and asked them to produce face masks followed by the process of sterilization of masks. To cater to the immediate need of face masks in the city, the 7-8 days long sterilisation process was altered to masks being dipped in Formalin solution to disinfect and sterilise.
The administration has been working continuously to ensure delivery of essential commodities to citizens. As a separate channels has been created for the delivery of ration (partnered with Reliance Fresh, Easy Day etc.), medicines (partnered with stores), milk and bread, LPG, New Born and Sanitary Essentials. All throughout, the administration has been following a strict vigilance on any form of black marketing of essentials.
Apart from the essential logistic needs, the administration also realized the growing need to ensure the well-being of citizens amidst the lockdown. Consequently, a dedicated phone line was put in place for any mental health related assistance. This helpline is aimed at helping people in these times of distress, anxiety and fear.
Various other initiatives, such as, sending cooked/uncooked food to those in need, old-age support, surveillance and monitoring of suspects, phone lines to report, etc., are being undertaken by the administration religiously. To scale up the initiatives, increase their penetration and to act upon the Government of India’s guidelines regarding the CSR initiation, several PSUs were requested to participate and help the administration. As the administration believes that together, we can sail through these tough times.