Jaipur: When the word ‘quarantine’ was heard by the elders in Mount Abu, Rajasthan’s only hill station, it caught their attention. They contacted the district administration, which was looking for a building to quarantine people, and told them that a dilapidated building just outside the town used to be a quarantine centre around a century ago.
Officials went to inspect the premises which is now not suitable for habitation. After intense discussion with people and going through the records, it was found to be a government building . Mount Abu administration has now decided to renovate this structure of historical significance as a tourist facilitation centre.
This century-old building is situated just a few metres away from the toll gate at the entrance of the town was used as a quarantine centre at the time of British.
Arun Shamra, a local historian, explained that Mount Abu used to be a summer destination for British who imposed special restrictions on entry to the town during when tuberculosis outbreak took place.
“When tuberculosis cases were multiplying every day, the British constructed a sanatorium, i.e. a health facility, for people suffering from chronic disease. It was situated on the foothills of Mount Abu and before letting anyone in the hill town, people were medically examined and sent there. If a person was found suffering from the disease in Mount Abu town, then that person was immediately transferred to this quarantine facility,” said Sharma.
This facility was situated outside the town at a secluded spot to keep infected people away from the population. After Independence, the sanatorium was converted into police station but when police station was shifted to a new building, it slowly ceased to exist.
The quarantine building, however, is still standing and the administration has prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for its renovation .
Sub-divisional magistrate of Mount Abu said, “The building cannot to be used as a quarantine centre and we already have better quarantine facilities in the town. We have prepared a plan to start construction early as in monsoon it gets difficult. So, either we will complete it by June 15 or after Diwali. In its current condition, only 20 people can be accommodated there but as per our plan we are trying to build it for 100 – 150 people. Its cost may vary from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. We will not amend the original structure and will keep it intact.”
Around 350 people returned to Mount Abu after April 27 out of which four people were in institutional quarantine and others were home quarantined. There have been no positive cases in the town as of now.