Dear Reader,

The pandemic and the diversion of resources to combat it, a familiar story across the country, has cost Kashmir dearly. Even as resources were pulled from the forest department to combat COVID-19, the resultant inattention has led to the plundering of its ‘green gold’ – its trees and its forests - by the ‘timber mafia’. The plunder was so rampant that a public uproar ensued. Kashmir Observer was on the ground to investigate.

While the lockdown has been lifted in most of India, nothing has changed as far as the fate of the ‘under class’ is concerned. Imphal Free Press brings you a story from Manipur of the continuing vulnerability that the daily wagers in the state face.

And, The Caravan reports on how the utter lack of guidelines and regulations on plasma donations has resulted in despairing patients and their families being totally dependent on the benevolence of well-wishers and strangers!

Our grantees bring you these stories and more on the battle against COVID-19. Please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Plunder In Pandemic: Kashmir’s Green Gold Continues to Bleed

Amidst the pandemic, even as the forest staff are diverted to COVID-19 duties, smugglers and timber mafia seem to have a field day in Kashmir’s forests. Kashmir Observer brings you the story from the ground on the plunder of the Union Territory’s trees and forests, Kashmir’s ‘green gold’, even as there are allegations of collusion of the people from the Forest Department.

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Coronavirus safety measures pose tough challenge to the survival of daily wage earners

The daily wage-earners in Manipur’s capital Imphal are at the end of the tether. With months under the lockdown, now even when the siege has been lifted, there are no takers for their labour for continued fears of COVID-19 infection. The Imphal Free Press reports from the ground.

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Lack of oversight leaves COVID-19 patients scrambling for plasma

More and more doctors across India have started to prescribe convalescent plasma therapy for severely ill COVID-19 patients. Plasma is taken from a person who has recovered from a disease as it contains antibodies to fight the very disease. However, with virtually no guidelines and regulations, patients and their families are running from pillar to post to find donors and are left to the goodwill of the public-spirited. The Caravan reports.

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How TB & HIV Patients In Tamil Nadu Surprised Doctors

Doctors in Tamil Nadu feared the worst from COVID-19 for their patients with heightened co-morbidities - TB and HIV-positive patients. However, they were in for a pleasant surprise. The Lede reports that less than 5 per cent of the TB patients and only six of about 3,900 HIV patients, who were on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), had tested positive for COVID!

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मेरा घर, मेरा विद्यालय- पढ़ाई जारी: अध्यापकों ने बच्चों के घर जाकर पढ़ाना शुरू किया

As part of the ‘Mera Ghar, Mera Vidhyalay’ initiative, the teachers of Shaskiya Madhyamik Shala in Ramanpura village in Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh are visiting the homes of their pupils to ensure that there is minimal learning loss due to the lockdown. Using mobile phones as a community tool, and ensuring free textbooks and stationery, the classes are conducted under the shade of a tree. Khabar Lahariya reports from the ground.

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More from the grantees
As South India Welcomes COVID-19 Praise, Many Doctors Remain Unhappy
The southern states are generally known for their relatively efficient healthcare infrastructure. However, now the governments in these states are on the defensive as they face protests from disgruntled healthcare workers who are demanding more secure tenures and better working conditions. The Wire reports.
Transitioning classes into electronic gadgets: Life of students in lockdown
Down to Earth highlights the challenges of online learning in the pandemic for disadvantaged children. Poor internet connectivity, erratic power supply, lack of smartphones hinder learning opportunities for the students in rural areas.
आता तरी 2 लाखांचा विमा द्या’ पुण्याच्या 56 वर्षीय स्वच्छता कर्मचारी आजींची मागणी
Max Maharashtra covers the protests by women sanitation workers in Pune demanding insurance cover for their lives, as their job entails being exposed to the risk of the Coronavirus.
बिहार के एक गांव में Coronavirus Test Centre का जायज़ा
Asiaville visits a testing centre in Sartarbar village in rural Bihar and talks to a doctor on the ground to understand the steps being taken to test and contain the spread of the pandemic.
Sikkim’s healthcare sector facing major workforce shortage
EastMojo brings you a ground report on the various shortcomings of the healthcare system in Sikkim, where hospitals have struggled to attract specialist doctors.
Restructuring India's Public Health Sector
Takshashila Institute’s analysts draw on healthcare systems from around the world to point out gaps in the Indian public healthcare infrastructure and how it can be addressed.
Why Covid-19 herd immunity may be closer than we believed so far
Emerging research showing that the body can launch a robust immune response to Coronavirus, even in the absence of previous exposure, points to the fact that achieving herd immunity may be easier than thought. The Print reports.
A day in the life of: A relief worker
From Assam, the India Development Review brings you the story of how a member of the Mising tribe helps his community survive the triple whammy of COVID-19, African Swine Fever, and the floods.
Independent & Public-Spirited Media Foundation
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