Agra: Water, biscuits tossed from outside in quarantine facility
A quarantine facility is supposed to be safe haven for coronavirus-infected patients, but one such place in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, has turned out to be nothing more than a disgrace. At the facility in Sharda Group of Institution, Sikandara, biscuits, tea, and other essential food items were thrown at inmates from outside the gate. Clips of the shameful incident have gone viral.
Two videos have become the talking point on social media and both show how inmates were being treated worse than animals. In one clip, a man, in protective gear can be seen hurling biscuit packets while those on the other side, stretched their hands to catch them. Mineral water bottles were also kept outside the gate as inmates tried holding them.
The people are suspected to have contracted the infection, but most of them haven't even best tested, reports TOI. Locked away from families, they don't get adequate food and some of them sleep on empty stomachs. Hygiene at the facility is also improper. Empty food packets lie on the ground, the washbasins are dirty, and water taps leak most of the time.
"This is what is being done to isolated people. We were told we will have a medical check-up done at some point, but this has not happened. There are no proper arrangements for food and water," a woman was heard saying in the second clip.
Across Agra, there are 21 active quarantine centers, nestling 800 inmates. According to ADM Pushpraj Singh, only half of the capacity is being utilized to ensure social distancing. Notably, the officer brushed aside the allegations that no testing was done saying people are checked on the first-come-first-serve basis. The inmates also get ration, Singh claimed. However, the videos clearly show that's not happening.
Taking cognizance of the matter after the clips surfaced, District Magistrate Prabhu Narayan Singh, said he paid a visit to the center and assured that lapses have been fixed. "The Chief Development Officer was asked to investigate the matter and to fix responsibility as there was a separate team formed to handle this task. The team has been asked to work properly," Singh said.
This incident assumes significance in the context of an April 21 letter, which BJP mayor Naveen Jain sent to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Pleading to save Agra from becoming the next Wuhan (the Chinese city from where coronavirus emerged), Jain slammed district administration for failing to control infections. He also highlighted that people aren't tested in quarantine centers for days at a stretch.
Jain also accused senior officials of not stepping out of their homes to take stock of the situation. When they leave homes, they get photographs clicked, he alleged. He said officials' laxity is inviting anger for the BJP government. His letter was RTed by Congress' Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Agra has the maximum number of infections in UP, and clearly the lauded "Agra model" is failing.
..और सही उपचार पर होना चाहिए।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) April 26, 2020
सरकार द्वारा आगरा मेयर की बातों को सकारात्मक भाव से लेना और तुरंत पूरी तरह से आगरा की जनता को महामारी से बचाने का प्रयास करना महत्वपूर्ण है। 2/2