After a day-long tussle between the Chandigarh Administration and Himachal Pradesh (HP) government over the accommodation of HP natives stranded in Chandigarh, the state government finally allowed entry to its citizens on Monday.
The episode followed after the UT administration affirmed that non-COVID-19 patients, who have been discharged from the Chandigarh hospitals, have still been occupying the hospital beds as they had no place to go.
At least 1,200 non-coronavirus patients, who were admitted at PGIMER or Chandigarh’s government hospitals including GMSH Sector 16 and GMCH Sector 32, were stranded in Chandigarh with their attendants as they were discharged during the on-going curfew. Most of these patients were from Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier, the UT Administration had requested the Himachal government to allow entry to its citizens. The administration had said that they “neither have any place to accommodate them for long nor do they have much resources like food to give” as the administration’s machinery was busy managing the COVID-19 related activities and the resources are finite.
Meanwhile, UT Adviser Manoj Parida had said that the Himachal Pradesh government was reluctant to take back it’s own citizens. On Sunday night, Parida tweeted about the same. In the first tweet, he said, “Outstation patients coming from other states discharged by hospitals like PGI have no local place to go nor any transport to return home. Any solutions group.”
Within an hour of tweeting that, Parida put out another tweet. He wrote: “Neighbouring states like Himachal have refused to take them now as the central government has banned interstate movement. Our hospital beds are blocked as discharged non Covid patients are not leaving.”
While the twitterati responded to the Adviser’s tweet with suggestions of accommodating the discharged patients at the Himachal Bhawan, sarais or other community centers, the Himachal government announced later that it will allow entry of its citizens stranded in Chandigarh. Chandigarh Adviser Manoj Parida told The Indian Express, “I have told the Health Secretary to coordinate with three medical chiefs and prepare a statewise list. Everything is being chalked out, including the destination, passes and transport, among others. We will also make local arrangements for their stay. We are considering Indira Holiday Home for the same.”
Meanwhile, speaking to The Indian Express, Himachal Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R D Dhiman said, “We are allowing entry to the people discharged from hospitals or who were out of town for marriage functions, among other valid reasons and everyone has been directed accordingly. The UT Adviser has also been informed.”
UT officials said, the administration will likely arrange vehicles for the stranded discharged patients, to facilitate their travel from the hospitals to the Himachal Pradesh border and from there, the Himachal Pradesh government will take charge and also mandate compulsory quarantine.
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