May 26, 2021 3:32:30 am
The Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation’s (KDMC) decision to conduct rapid antigen tests on those who violate lockdown rules has helped it identify 15 people, who in spite of being infected, were out roaming the streets.
Local residents, however, have questioned KDMC’s decision claiming that tests were being conducted in an arbitrary manner at crowded testing centres. Many also alleged that people are being given a choice to either pay a fine of Rs 500 or get tested.
KDMC Commissioner Vijay Suryawanshi on May 15 had announced that corporation officials, along with police personnel, will conduct rapid antigen tests on all those who are found roaming on the streets without a valid reason after 11 am. Vans were deployed to ferry offenders to testing centers. Those who tested positive are being sent to isolation centres for treatment. From May 16 to 24, 3,825 tests have been conducted with 15 people testing positive.
Many local residents, however, had a different story to narrate.
Dhiraj Gautam (27), a worker at a construction site, said, “Today, I was going to the site for work around 11 am on a bike when I was stopped at the Khadakpada circle at a police nakabandi. I was wearing a mask and a helmet. I thought they would only check my documents. But they asked me to park my bike and sit in their van. When I ask why, they hit me and took me, along with many others, to a centre to get tested.”
Pravin Koli, an employee of a pharma company, said, “I was going to work and had a company ID. I was stopped by the police who told me to either pay a fine of Rs 500 or get myself tested. When I refused to pay, they forcibly put me in a van and took me to a crowded testing centre where my swab samples were taken.”
The KDMC, however, said that only those flouting norms were being taken to testing centres.
“We are asking people why they are outside. It is only when officials feel that a person is wandering around without any valid reason do we take them to testing centres,” KDMC PRO Madhuri Pophle said.
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