The cool, calm and composed officer was first shot to the limelight for his superior skills to deal with a situation that Gajapati district had never experienced in recent history. He, however successfully dealt with one of the major challenges of his career so far to meet the aspiration of the people of Gajapati and later became the most popular officer for the people.
Yes, we are talking about the young IAS officer from Kesinga who is now serving as the Collector of the district. He not only successfully dealt with post cyclone ‘Titli’ restoration work, but also saved people during global pandemic Covid-19 with his proactive advance steps. Besides, he also put the district in developmental trajectory.
During the peak of Covid-19 in the district, in an one-of-a-kind step, he rolled out the mobile coronavirus testing van, which had enabled health officials to collect samples at the doorstep even in the densely populated areas of the region.
This COVID-19 testing van encompasses testing facility, provision of disinfectant, drinking water, disposal of clinical waste and a drawer for safe keep of swab.
Adhering to the government guidelines, social distancing in the mobile van has also been maintained whereby three people can be accommodated inside the vehicle. People residing in all 149 Gram Panchayat of Gajapati were examined for COVID-19 with the help of this mobile van.
Gajapati district had rolled out this testing van in collaboration with National Health Mission and ICMR.
This vannot only screened the locals but also screened scores of migrants who were stranded at Andhra Pradesh border.
The Collector with the hand holding support from the government has set up robust health infrastructure in the district to tackle the Pandemic. Three dedicated Covid hospitals including Centurion Health University, (DCH) Covid hospital with 102 beds, out of them 10 equipped with ICU beds was immediately set up in the district.
Similarly, Anupam Saha has led from the front to set up 60 bedded Covid hospital at Kaliapada in Mohana to provide the health services near to the people. SDC, Betaguda (DCHC) has also been set up with 72 beds for the people in Gajapati district.
Besides, the district collector has also set up 520 beds in Covid Care Centre in the district. To provide the health services at the last mile, he also set up 205 temporary medical camps with 16836 number of bedded.
His hard work at last paid off as the district has saw only 4028 covid-19 confirmed cases, out of which 3945 people have already been discharged. The district reported only 32 death cases due to Covid -19.
Covid was worldwide problem. Due to early intervention of the Odisha Government, we could able to fight it successfully. We have set up covid hospital at the right time and when the peak of covid-19 came, we had good health infrastructure and good number of doctors and paramedical staffs to fight any situation, the soft spoken Collector, who himself infected with the Covid-19, said.
Management of migrant labourers was also another biggest challenge the successfully faced. According to dashboard data, the district has seen an influx of 13074 migrants labourers who have returned to their home in the district. It was also a major problem for the administration to tackle. But The determined Anupam Shah had left no stone unturned to settle down the migrant labourers by providing employment and livelihood support for the migrant labourers. As part of his strategy he also stepped up MGNREGS activities in the district to provide livelihood support and employment to the needy migrant labourers.
He never hesitates to visit to the people living in the remotest areas in the district. He himself motivated his staff to do round the clock work to get rid of the COVID crisis.
Remembering his ‘Cyclone Titli’ experience, he said it was indeed a challenge for me. Damage was huge and for the first time the district had experienced such type of cyclone.
He took the lead and conducted COVID-19 test of all the teachers before reopening of the schools. When 26 schools teachers and two students were reported positive for covid-19, as a true leader, he himself came out clear the air and doubts of the parents of the students and general people.
Clearing the air, he said, “All these tests were conducted before the reopening of schools on January 8. And no teachers who have infected with covid-19 have allowed to enter school and will remain in home or institutional quarantine as per the standard operating procedure. So there is absolutely no need to worry about, he said.
The leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, guidance of 5T Secretary VK Pandian and cooperation of people of Gajapati made it possible to give a strong fight against COVID-19 pandemic, says the Collector.