Hailakandi: To cater to the shortage of masks in the district, the Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM), Hailakandi has roped in women self-help groups (SHGs) to produce masks to contain the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19. A mask selling corner was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner, Hailakandi, Keerthi Jalli here on Wednesday. Jalli said wearing masks, hand washing and maintaining social distancing are the best ways to break the novel coronavirus chain. Jalli urged the people to buy the eco-friendly masks produced by local women SHGs to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She lauded the initiative of ASRLM to rope in the SHGs and to provide them means of livelihood during the lockdown period.
District Development Commissioner, Vikram Dev Sarma and Deputy Superintendent of Police, Nayan Moni Barman and President, Hailakandi Zilla Parishad, Farhana Khanam Choudhury were also present on the occasion. 72 SHGs have been engaged across the district and together they made 13,803 masks in a short span of time, claimed ASRLM.
“To meet the shortage of masks in the district, we have engaged 72 women SHGs comprising 106 members. 13,803 masks have been produced till yesterday,” said Biplob Kumar Nath, District Programme Officer of ASRLM.
Several voluntary organisation, NGOs, banks, clubs, social welfare centres and government organisations have bought the masks, Nath said. The double layered cotton masks come for Rs.25 per piece. Nath said the SHGs have made quite a good earning by making the masks during the lockdown. Nath said plans are on the anvil to produce three-layered masks and to keep the rate nominal to make them within the reach of the common man. The administration has made wearing of masks and face covers mandatory in the district. 69 persons have been arrested for not wearing masks or face covers and six cases registered so far. The owners of petrol pumps here have stopped giving fuel to the motorists not wearing masks or face covers. Dreams, an NGO, has also pitched in by enforcing ‘no face mask, no entry’ in all the 16 municipal wards of Hailakandi town.