Quarantine centres in bad shape, says Opposition

Chhattisgarh’s main opposition, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), has alleged that the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government is responsible for the rampant mismanagement of state-run quarantine centres for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, which have led to several deaths.

The BJP has demanded that the state government set up an online monitoring mechanism of the quarantine centres.

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The Leader of Opposition in the Chhattisgarh legislative assembly, Dharamlal Kaushik, has alleged that widespread chaos has been reported from numerous quarantine centres and several deaths have also occurred in these facilities, as the state government is callous about the looming crisis.

“These centres are in dire need of security. But the state government is not releasing the funds, which it has received from the Centre, to panchayats and urban bodies for the upkeep of these centres,” he alleged.

State health minister Tribhuvaneshwar Saran Singh Deo rubbished Kaushik’s allegations and cited that deaths that occurred at these quarantine centres are all on record. He listed deaths were reported from quarantine centres in Mungeli, Balod, Balrampur and Bemtera districts, but none are them is related to Covid-19.

Kaushik rattled off instances to bolster his argument. “On May 14, a 27-year-old committed suicide at a quarantine centre in Sarangarh and another youth, too, took his life at a similar facility in Balod district four days later. A teacher died on duty at a quarantine centre in Balrampur on May 19 and another youth also passed away on the same day in Bemtara district. These incidents show that the state government is not taking the occurrence of deaths at the quarantine centres seriously,” he alleged.

The BJP leader alleged that these quarantine centres lack basic amenities. “It’s a torture for the stranded migrant workers, who have returned to their home state, and are lodged there. They’re all eager to run away from these centres,” he further alleged.

Kaushik also blamed the state government for an inadequate number of kits to conduct Covid-19 tests. “All the migrant workers, who have come back to Chhattisgarh, haven’t been tested yet. They’re living in these quarantine centres and spreading SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, among their fellow inmates,” he alleged.

Singh Deo said it’s an uphill task to manage four lakh migrant workers, who are lodged at quarantine centres located in rural areas.

“The state government is doing its best. I can’t claim that all is well. But at least up to 95% of these quarantine centres are functioning properly. Besides, none of the deaths that have been reported from these quarantine centres is related to Covid-19. Eight people were tested after they passed away, but all of them tested Covid-19 negative,” he added.