SRINAGAR: A collaboration between Kashmir-based researchers and businessmen, joined by a Kashmiri management expert from Zhejiang University China, on Friday launched an innovative ideas challenge for developing fast methods of preventing and testing the COVID-19 virus.
According to the flyer, the idea is to develop quick innovative solutions to address the challenge of COVID-19, and the winner will receive Rs one lakh in cash and a certificate.
Participants can submit their ideas under the themes of innovative quick screening, rapid testing kits, personal protective equipment, designing supplies or devices which include face splash, masks and low-cost ventilators, innovative ways for the supply and distribution of essential items, efficient handling and management of COVID-19 patients, and overcoming social stigma of infected patients.
Ideas can be sent at [email protected] till April 15, 2020.
“The innovations and solutions will be shared with the government and non-government organisations,” it said.
The four persons who have collaborated for this initiative are Prof Saad Parved of NIT Srinagar, Dr Sheikh Fayaz from the School of Management in Zhejiang University China, Abdul Hameed, owner of Rahim Greens Kashmir, and Abdul Rashid, owner of Aaraf Food Kashmir.
The move will be another significant contribution from locals to the government, which has been accused of not making adequate preparations to prevent the spread of the pandemic. NGOs have been supplying food and protection gear to hospitals. A mass awareness campaign run by locals is also going on.
A citizens’ group had earlier come up with the idea of making masks locally. It turned out to be of great help to the authorities as masks were in short supply.
“The goal is how to get over this crisis by finding local ways. We can’t rely on outsiders this time. We have to speed up, find solutions, and defeat the virus,” said Abdul Hameed, a successful businessman based in Kashmir.
Hameed had earlier donated Rs 10 lakh to a local NGO as well as power generators for setting up quarantine facilities in Srinagar.
“We are short of resources in this challenging time. We don’t have ventilators. We have management issues. We have social stigma issues. What we can to at his time is to see the problem locally, develop solutions locally. We have to win,” said Dr Sheikh Fayaz.
Fayaz said they have also pooled in experts from universities who are ready to share their knowledge and will be helping them.