Maharashtra govt launches ‘corona free village’ contest, prize money up to Rs 50 lakh

Maharashtra govt launches ‘corona free village’ contest, prize money up to Rs 50 lakh

Mumbai: In a bid to contain the COVID-19 spread in the rural areas, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday (June 2) launched a ‘corona free village’ contest with prize money up to Rs 50 lakh.

Announcing the “My Village Corona Free” initiative recently, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hailed the efforts of the villagers in containing the infection.

State Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif said that a ‘corona free village’ contest is a part of the initiative.

The prize money will be given to the best three village panchayats that excel in COVID-19 management.

“The first prize will be of Rs 50 lakh, second of Rs 25 lakh and third of Rs 15 lakh,” the minister.

“There are six revenue divisions in the state, hence there will be a total of 18 prizes. The total prize money is Rs 5.4 crore,” he added.

The villages which win the contest will also get an additional amount equivalent to the prize money as encouragement, and it will be utilized for development works in those villages, the minister said.

The participating villages will be judged on 22 criteria and a committee will be set up to judge the villages.

CM Thackeray in a virtual address on Sunday lauded Ruturaj Deshmukh (21), the youngest sarpanch in Maharashtra, and his task force to keep their Ghatne village in Solapur district free of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra recorded 14,123 new COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 57,61,015, while 477 fresh deaths and another 377 deaths previously unreported pushed the fatality count to 96,198, as per official data.