Shri Naveen Patnaik in establishing two separate hospitals in Odisha with 625 beds for COVID 19 patients in eight days has emerged as the first leader in India to have done so. It reaffirms his globally acclaimed excellent bench mark of governance in dealing with disasters, both natural and man made, In doing so he has set an example for whole humanity that quality preparedness and preventive measures is indispensable for safeguarding human and health security in face of corona menace which has become a colossal global pandemic. These two hospitals in combination with his first of its kind pronouncement on 13th March that COVID 19 that it is a disaster as per National Disaster Management Act of 2005 and ruthless social distancing must be practiced to defeat corona menace make him a statesman to vanquish the corona peril. In setting such hospitals in fulfillment of his assurances to people that such separate medical facilities would be made available to those infected with corona virus free of cost, Chief Minister amply proves the point that his Government is caring and sensitive to the health concerns of people. Such a momentous step of the Government in this exceptional crisis situation generates positive feelings among people that authorities enjoying popular mandate are rising to the occasion to allay their fears, anxieties and worries about their life, health and wellness. It reminds us the leadership of Utkal Gaurab Madhusudan Das who while speaking in the Central Legislative Assembly on 21st February 1923 on cholera epidemic had said, ''The first thing that struck me was ......to make the people feel that there is a Government which feels for them, which provides for their relief, which is anxious to see That they are cured, that they are protected against the spread of cholera."
Hope Preventing Measures Would Defeat Corona Virus
While acknowledging the applause of people for setting up of two stand alone COVID 19 hospitals in Odisha one is mindful of the words of Mahatma Gandhi who when requested to inaugurate a hospital famously said that he would be more happy if its founders would extend an invitation to him to put a lock on it to declare its closure after the successful completion of its work. It is hoped that the two separate hospitals established by Odisha Government in a record time of eight days and made operational with all facilities would become redundant not be used. It is sincerely hoped that the non-pharmaceutical and preventive measures adopted by the Government such as social distancing, protocol of hand washing with soaps, eschewing the practice of spitting in public spaces and lock down and shut down of almost all human activities will eventually liberate people from infectious corona infection. Chief Minister while interacting with the doctors and health care personnel of these two hospitals through video conferencing very rightly said, "Although we are ready to provide better healthcare to Covid-19 patients in these standalone hospitals, we can win the fight through social distancing, hand washing and observing lockdown guidelines wholeheartedly.”
.The author served as Officer on Special Duty and Press Secretary to President of India late Shri K R Narayanan and had a tenure in Prime Minister’s Office and Joint Secretary in Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Views expressed in the article are in his personal capacity.