Social organisations and private enterprises in West Singhbhum are doling out freebies, ranging from petrol to lucky draw coupons, to encourage more people to get vaccinated against the deadly Covid-19 virus. The move has earned praises from beneficiaries, district administration and the government.
“We held this special vaccination drive in collaboration with the IOC. A total of 240 persons were given coupons for 1 litre free petrol after they got themselves vaccinated. The idea was to motivate people for inoculation,” Nitesh Kumar Bagaria, MYM-Chakradharpur, said on Tuesday.
State child, women development and social welfare minister Jobha Majhi praised the initiative of the entrepreneur and said, “It is a good idea. Such schemes would make more beneficiaries come to the vaccination centre.”
So far, West Singhbhum has seen 134 Covid fatalities while 5,086 deaths have been reported from the state. Convincing tribals to get the vaccine shot has been a task in West Singhbhum. Health workers have reportedly been attacked in a few villages when they went there to vaccinate people.
Deputy commissioner Ananya Mittal said at a meeting with village heads at government school in Bandgaon block of the district, “Vaccination percentage is very low at just 9% in Bandgaon block. The vaccination rate in West Singhbhum is 30% whereas 60% people in neighbouring East Singhbhum district have been vaccinated already. I urge people not to pay any heed to rumours about vaccination.”
Similarly, the Lions Club of Chaibasa in association with Guru Singh Saheb, a socio-religious outfit of the Sikhs, gave free lucky draw coupons during a weeklong vaccination drive organised at camps set up in gurudwaras of Chaibasa.
District governor of the Lions Club, Kunal Saraf said, “People coming here are benefiting in two ways – they are getting vaccinated and also receiving lucky draw coupons. Our camps registered 60% turnout of beneficiaries of the 18 plus category.” Saraf added that they are planning to vaccinate 1,000 people during the weeklong drive.
Ravi Agarwal, a resident of Chaibasa, who took the jab, hailed the club for promoting vaccination and said, “We are eagerly waiting for June 27 when results of the lucky draw will be announced. They are offering ceiling fans, pressure cookers and inverters among other items in the scheme.”
District civil surgeon Dr Om Prakash Gupta said, “The organisations have come forward to offer the gifts voluntarily to motivate people to take the vaccine and we appreciate their effort and the district administration has no role or contribution in the offers.”
He added, “Several other groups are likely to hold such schemes voluntarily in the coming days.”
Cultural activist Gabbar Singh Hembram, who is holding ‘nukkad’ plays in the Saranda forest area to promote vaccination among the tribals, said that the offers have can bring reluctant beneficiaries to the vaccination centres