When the people of Odisha and Odias abroad chant the state’s anthem, Vande Utkal Janani, on Saturday evening, the song will intrinsically be a paean to the state’s unrivalled efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic… in league with Kerala.
Quite an achievement when contextualised with the recent curfew in the state capital of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Bhadrak and the grinding poverty of the migrants.
When Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made the stirring appeal on Thursday, he had spoken on the basis of empirical evidence, claiming that Odisha’s achievement in the “war against coronavirus has been much better than several rich and developed nations”.
His parameters are as fundamental as they are convincing ~ the low Covid mortality rate and what the medical fraternity has certified as “high recovery” of those who had been afflicted. The rendition of the state’s anthem is bound to inspire and express solidarity with the relentless and intrepid efforts of the Covid warriors.
Cutting across party lines, Mr Patnaik has made sure that he is not blowing his trumpet. Notably, he has taken the state presidents of all parties into confidence while seeking their cooperation in rendering the anthem.
He has included the Bharatiya Janata Party in the ambit, pre-eminently Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the state BJP president, Samir Mohanty. Ever since the morning of 25 March, the primary goal of the administration in a predominantly rural state was to “save every precious life”, to summon the words of the Chief Minister.
Even the detractors of the ruling Biju Janata Dal will readily acknowledge that the state has achieved signal success, and without resorting to the rhetorical chant of “life and livelihood” and the banging of utensils. The reassuring feature of Odisha’s tryst with Covid-19 is that the state’s mortality rate is one of the lowest in the country and in the world.
More than 50 per cent of the afflicted have recovered and gone home. And there are no reports of nurses resigning (as in West Bengal) and disgruntled doctors of private hospitals. The state’s rate of Covid test per million population has been 3029 against the all-India average of 2490.
One positive case is detected in Odisha out of around 84 sample tests against the national average of one case per 21 tests. The state’s fatality ratio, as of now, is 0.42 per cent against the national average of 2.86 per cent. Till today a total of 1,39, 311 Covid tests have been completed. It has doubtless been a major achievement for a state like Odisha and its people.
Powerful nations of the world, even affluent states of the country, have not been able to achieve this feat in the fight against Coronavirus. Maharashtra, for instance, has been the most acutely affected. It has been a horrendous narrative, and Odisha’s performance has been exemplary.