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    Published On : Thu, Dec 31st, 2020

    2020: The year of health upheaval and, brave acts, too


    Nagpur: The Nagpurians, or for that matter, people across the world, would like to forget the year 2020 as soon as possibly. The year 2020 has seen thousands of lives getting unsettled or destroyed with the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The year, however, has also been witness to acts of kindness, selflessness and bravery as people have gone beyond the call of duty to do their bit to help humanity. They have risen above divisions that separate society, often putting their own lives at risk to help others in need. For, though crisis induced changes, it could not dampen the human spirit.

    From working relentlessly to find a cure to saving lives and supporting the community to stay safe, these Bravehearts have ensured that nothing comes in their way of helping others. As 2020 comes to an end, we, at Nagpur Today, salute the Covid Warriors — both collective groups and individuals — who are leading by example and helping make this world a safer, better place.

    Sanitation workers, Healthcare workers, Healthcare professionals, ASHA workers, Police and a great number of individuals and groups rendered selfless services for the cause of humanity in this horrid time: These unsung heroes have been toiling hard to provide the comfort and support that Covid patients required.

    While Nagpur and the rest of the country remained under lockdown, safe at home, the police worked round the clock to ensure our safety. This pandemic, they showed their humane side as well, often going out of their ways to help people in need. From supplying essentials to senior citizens and those in need, arranging for food for migrants and the homeless to dressing up and spreading awareness of hygiene and the need to stay safe, to even delivering cakes and singing birthday songs for the elderly — these khaki warriors showed that they too have feelings and emotions.

    Political front:

    The onset of the year 2020, however, saw a significant political development. In Nagpur Zilla Parishad elections, Congress won a single-handed majority ending the more-than-five-years ruling stint of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This victory within a few months of formation of Shiv Sena, Congress, and Nationalist Congress Party coalition’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government in Maharashtra, made the difference. Irrespective of COVID-19 pandemic, political activities and demonstrations continued throughout the year on a wide range of issues including Citizenship Amendment Act, handling of COVID-19 situation, high electricity bills even during lockdown period, farm laws, lockdowns, labour crisis, social media comments against the Government, impact on economy and jobs, flood relief etc.

    NMC affairs:

    Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) also did not remain untouched by politics. MVA constituents questioned NMC’s financial position, and BJP hit back. IAS officer Tukaram Mundhe taking over as Municipal Commissioner added a separate chapter. Mundhe tightened his grip over NMC affairs and this irked many. However, in August, MVA Government abruptly transferred Mundhe out of Nagpur. Radhakrishnan B assumed charge as new Municipal Commissioner.

    Lockdown affected normal life. Labour crisis ensued. The administration had to make arrangements for their stay, food etc. Later on, Shramik Special trains were launched for stranded labourers. Apart from administration, several social and voluntary organisations provided food and shelter, made transport and healthcare arrangements for stranded persons. From May to July, COVID-19 cases and deaths rose. Death toll in August and September alarmed all. On September 6, the city recorded the highest single-day death toll of 58. Systems were reviewed and improved gradually. Though there were some ‘COVIDiots’, most people acted in a sane manner and followed ‘SMS’ (sanitiser, mask, social distancing) norms. As a result, the number of deaths and cases started coming down from October. As lockdown was relaxed in a phased manner, life started returning to normalcy. Festival celebration was, however, subdued.

    Covid-19 shadow on festivals:

    City’s iconic events — Shri Ram Navami Shobhayatra, Marbat procession, Vijayadashami Utsav of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Dhammachakra Pravartan Din celebrations at Deekshabhoomi, Ganeshotsav, Navratri, Eid, etc — were celebrated without usual grandeur. Night curfew imposed restrictions on Christmas and New Year celebrations too.

    Corona takes Winter Session toll:

    The annual ritual — Winter Session of State Legislature — was not held in Nagpur due to COVID-19. However, an announcement was made that a permanent office of State Legislature Secretariat would be made functional in Vidhan Bhavan at Nagpur from January 2021.

    City bids adieu to stalwarts:

    The city witnessed passing away of its stalwarts including veteran RSS ideologue M G Vaidya, noted Air Warrior-litterateur Wg Cdr (retd) A P Mote, eminent Defence expert Lt Gen (retd) Ravindra Thodge and many other luminaries.

    Crime scenario:

    City was jolted to the core with brutal crimes including murder of goon Balya Binekar in broad daylight, Rane family tragedy etc.

    Unique events:

    The Second Capital was also witness to some unique events in the year. Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde heard the Puri Rath Yatra case virtually from his home, creating history. Later in the year, he inaugurated the country’s first E-Resource Centre ‘Nyay Kaushal’ in the city. Another legal luminary from city Justice B P Dharmadhikari became the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court. Though he had a short stint, he left his imprint. As far as metro rail projects are concerned, the city has got some more stations. Also, the State Government gave its nod to the proposal to extend Nagpur Metro service to Bhandara and Wardha. On a positive side, Nagpur also was involved in trials of vaccines in development. While signing off the year 2020, Nagpurians are hoping that the first shots of the vaccine will be received in 2021.

    Education and social front:

    Also, Nagpurians are eagerly waiting for full re-opening of schools for all classes, though online classes marked most of the year. The city’s most high-profile event was the wedding of two orphans — Varsha, raised by noted social worker Shankarbaba Papalkar, and Sameer. Anil Deshmukh, Home Minister of Maharashtra, did ‘kanyadaan’ of Varsha, and Ravindra Thakare, District Collector, became father of the groom. Good and bad, sweet and sour, high and low… These are all parts of human life as well as city’s life.

    If the year 2020 is to be summed up, one can say that it saw pandemic and resilience of the human spirit with tales of positivity. As the city signs off 2020 and awaits 2021, everyone is hopeful that the coming year will be full of happy moments.

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