[ Amar Sangno ]
ITANAGAR, May 9: Amid reports of a mess up at the police training centre (PTC) quarantine facility (QF) in Banderdewa, authorities reportedly sent off some of the students, who had come from Kota in Rajasthan, to their respective districts on Friday without taking their swab samples.
Forty-two students were brought back to Arunachal clandestinely on Monday midnight from Kota, which falls under the red zone category according to the ministry of home affairs’ zonal wise categorization.
Out of 42 students, 37 were brought to the PTC QF.
Sources informed that the higher authorities told the respective districts to get swabs of the students for RT-PCR test as most of the students had left the PTC QF without being tested.
Among the 37 Kota students from the PTC QF, four were reportedly sent to Ziro in Lower Subansiri. This daily learnt that of the four students in Ziro, the medical team could collect the swab sample of only one student.
According to the Itanagar-Capital Complex DMO, 18 students have tested negative. However, the rest of the results are either awaited, or swab samples have not been collected.
There is no clarity from the medical authority.
This daily had send further queries on WhatsApp to the minister of health and family welfare, the chief secretary, the secretary health and family welfare, DMO Itanagar Capital Complex and the nodal officer of the PTC QF. However no one had responded to the queries till the filing of this report.
Besides, a dramatic turn of events unfolded after the 37 students from Kota were brought to the PTC QF on Monday midnight with the health department having no prior information about their arrival.
The returnees from the green zone, who were already at the PTC QF resorted to protest, saying that they would not share rooms with the 37 Kota students, as they were coming from one of India’s Covid-19 hotbeds.
Sources informed that the evacuation of the 42 students from Kota had already courted controversy as it was being carried out undercover. It is said that the entourage details of 42 students was not even shared with the officials at QF PTC, which led to total mess and mid night crisis.
The Arunachal Times learnt that evacuation of students became a talking point and led to discord among the top officials during a meeting attended by Chief Minister Pema Khandu this week in the Civil Secretariat here.
The blunder was exposed when a girl recorded a video and shared it online stating that there was no zonal-wise categorization in the arrangement and they were forced to share bathrooms with the returnees of red zones (Kota).
The video went viral on social media, forcing the authorities, especially the district magistrate and the health department to scramble in order to fix the fault lines.
To escape the humiliation over mismanagement and the ill-prepared PTC QF, the Secretary Health and Family Welfare issued an order on 6th May, 2020 in the line of revised SOP, directing all districts to send their throat/ nasopharyngeal samples to the laboratories.
For eastern Arunachal districts, authorities concerned have to send the samples to RMRC, Dibrugarh; central Arunachal samples are to be sent to TRIHMS, Naharlagun and samples from Tawang and West Kameng districts are to be sent to Tezpur in Assam.
The impetuous act of the authorities to send off students without taking swab samples- whether it is the district administration or the health department- has put the districts in grave danger which are already under-prepared in terms of Covid-19 fight.
Though the state government has made tall claims over preparedness of Covid-19 in the district level, Kra Daadi District Medical Officer Dr Higio Tama’s letter to the deputy commissioner has exposed the ground reality.
Dr Tama pleaded to the Kra Daadi DC to ensure that the stranded students who wish to return to the district be quarantined in Capital Complex, citing lack of facilities and manpower in Kra Daadi.
He cited 10 points, including shortage of manpower, equipment and non-availability of drugs.
When contacted, Dr Tama, confirming his letter to the DC said, “Yes! These 10 points are ground realities in Kra Daadi district. I have sincerely ventilated the inner weakness in my department. Tall claims are meaningless”.
The Kra Daadi District Students’ Union also opposed the sending of stranded students to the district stating that the district does not have proper health facilities.
[ Amar Sangno ]