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Deaths at Chhattisgarh's quarantine centres: BJP demands online monitoring mechanism

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The Times Of India
26th May, 2020 20:36 IST

RAIPUR: Poor conditions and facilities in quarantine centres in Chhattisgarh are now in focus after deaths due to snake bite, suicides and many such incidents.

Not only just the social media backlash but opposition BJP has also blamed the Congress government for pathetic conditions and demanded setting up an online monitoring mechanism for quarantine centres.

After two suicides, another youth hanged himself at district hospital's quarantine centre in Surguja on Monday night. He was a migrant worker and had recently returned from Delhi. His test was found negative in the rapid test kit and samples were sent to Raipur for further tests. Though he was kept at Lundra centre, but was later shifted to hospital's quarantine on complaint of abdominal pain.

About nine people have died in quarantine centres in state in past few days. The plight began mainly after migrant workers started pouring in. A photo on Tuesday took rounds on the social media platforms showed few workers at a quarantine centre sitting on floor with food served on a newspaper with the lentils and vegetable shabbily flowing out of the paper.

While it was claimed that the picture was from a government school of Biranpur in Kawardha, when contacted, government officials denied saying that people at Biranpur were being given best facilities. Janpad panchayat chief executive officer Keshav Verma said that people were being given plates for food and as a preventive measure, the migrant workers have been given separate plates and utensils.

The Biranpur region has been declared containment zone since a 75-year-old woman was tested positive for the virus while all others residing there were tested negative. Verma said that all precautionary measures were being taken.

Before this incident, a fresh case was reported from a school in Gandai region of Rajnandgaon where people in quarantine had called a tantric to disinfect the place and shoo away black magic. Officials said that in absence of guards at the location, local villagers who resort to superstition, called the tantric assuming that they were hit down by black magic and he would treat them from it.

The belief went strong when two pregnant women at the centre started behaving weirdly though they got back to normal after taken to hospital.

Also, migrant workers at Ambagarh quarantine centre suffered from insect bite that caused swelling on their faces and other parts of body.

Amid back to back incidents surfacing at quaratine centres, leader of opposition Dharamlal Kaushik said that it was very serious issue that people were also dying at these centres.

Kaushik demanded, "state government should stop this grave ignorance and make arrangements for online monitoring and the centres should be provided security guards as well as proper facilities. Deaths at centres are not being taken sensitively or seriously by government and the non-seriousness is evident with sudden spike in positive cases too."

Kaushik urged that the reason and truth behind the deaths should be brought to the fore because many such persons dead were cremated silently by officials claiming that they were tested negative but there was no reason shown for their deaths.

In another recent incident, a youth staying in a quarantine centre in Balrampur was allegedly beaten up by the officials after he complained of poor conditions at the quarantine centre on social media. Besides, a case was registered against him on May 16 under section 188 of the epidemic diseases Act and IPC sections 269 and 270 for “negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life and malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life”.

Youth’s father complained to Union minister of state for tribal affairs Renuka Singh that his son was beaten up by government officials, the union minister publicly gave them a dressing down, which also sent viral on the social media. Later, Balrampur district collector Sanjeev Kumar Jha told TOI that two committees have been set up to inquire into complaint that the youth was beaten up by the officials.

Although, health minister TS Singhdeo told media that the allegations of mysterious deaths without maintaining records were baseless and stated that official records were being maintained.

Deaths at quarantine centres began on May 14 with suicide of a youth identified as Arjun Nishad at Sarangarh centre, on May 17 at Mungeli, Yogesh Verma died of snake bite after walking down from Pune, Suraj Yadavhanged himself at Balod in quarantine centre on May 18, Budharu Ram died of snake bite in Rajnangaon centre on May 18, a teacher died of heart attack while on duty at quarantine centre in Balrampur on May 19, Raju Dhruv died under mysterious condition on May 20 in Bemetara

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