Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 | Last Update : 07:58 AM IST

112th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra26992414450710482 Tamil Nadu142798925672032 Delhi113740913123411 Gujarat42808298062056 Karnataka4158116249759 Uttar Pradesh3813024203955 Telangana3622123679365 West Bengal3144819213956 Andhra Pradesh3110316464365 Rajasthan2493618630518 Haryana2192916637308 Madhya Pradesh1820713208653 Assam178081141741 Bihar1742112364125 Odisha13737925591 Jammu and Kashmir108276095179 Kerala8323425732 Punjab81785586199 Chhatisgarh4265320219 Jharkhand3963235131 Uttarakhand3608285647 Goa2583154014 Tripura209314752 Manipur16269700 Puducherry146878518 Himachal Pradesh124392710 Nagaland8453400 Chandigarh5884238 Arunachal Pradesh3871452 Meghalaya316462 Mizoram2331510 Sikkim166870
  Opinion   Edit  27 May 2020  AA Edit: More elite than thou: Gowda impunity reeks

AA Edit: More elite than thou: Gowda impunity reeks

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 27, 2020, 7:39 pm IST
Updated : May 27, 2020, 7:39 pm IST

It’s time the Union government got its act together

D.V. Sadananda Gowda (PTI)
 D.V. Sadananda Gowda (PTI)

The action of the Karnataka government on Monday granting exemption to ministers of the Union government or state governments or officers on duty who are travelling across states from requirements of quarantine after Union fertilisers and chemicals minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda broke the standard operating procedure reflects the ad-hocism and lack of coordination that rule the Covid containment efforts in the country.

Mr Gowda, who arrived in Bengaluru on Monday from Delhi on a scheduled flight when the domestic air traffic was opened after two months, allegedly violated the SOP that required people who reached the state by domestic flights from Delhi and five other states to spend the first week in institutional quarantine and the second week in home quarantine.

The minister, who attended review meetings with officials, later said he cannot be equated with ordinary people as he was responsible for ensuring the availability of medicines in every part of the country and that his institutional quarantine would impede it.

After the controversy erupted, the Karnataka government published an addendum to the SOP granting the exemption.

Only later did the minister place himself in home quarantine, that too after the government seemed to realise the enormity of the breach of regulations.
Nobody has a case that a Union minister with such a critical responsibility should be made to shut himself out from the world even for a single day when the whole nation is fighting the deadly virus.

But a government cannot work on knee-jerk reactions; it should follow the laid down rules. Nobody would have complained if the minister was sent to Bengaluru on a chartered flight; this nation can afford that luxury.

Nobody would have regretted granting exemption to the important functionaries and then they follow it; but doing so to pardon violations by important people with retrospective effect is unacceptable.

One may wonder why nobody in the Union government had objected to a senior minister taking a regular scheduled flight and risking his health but anyone who closely watches the functioning of some of the ministries have little reason to do so.

A pandemic would have ideally been fought by the state governments under the leadership and coordination of the Union government, but the latter has been hardly successful in carrying out its role effectively.

The total chaos witnessed across airports on Monday when air traffic was opened after a long period showed the callousness with which the government approached the operation.

The recent surge in the number of Covid positive cases can be attributed to the failure in rolling out an aggressive national programme on contact tracing, screening, testing, quarantine and treatment during the long and extended lockdown period.

Lakhs of guest workers trekking back home point to another failure; the diversion of several Shramik Special trains carrying them home due to congestion in the route is yet another.

It is laughable to suggest that that the Indian Railways, a 150-year old institution with exceptional skills of managing complex permutations and combinations, failed to manage a few hundred trains when it has ceased its normal operations. It’s time the Union government got its act together.

Tags: coronavirus lockdown, indian railway