Quarantine centres at the village level are in a “pitiable condition”, the Uttarakhand high court has noted in an order on the basis of reports received from District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA) in the state.
Following the court’s observation, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday directed district magistrates to ensure availability of essential facilities in quarantine centres.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the High court on May 28 directed secretaries of the DLSAs in border districts Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Haridwar and Dehradun to visit these quarantine centres within three days and file reports.
On June 2, the bench comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Ravindra Maithani said in its order, “The sense which we are getting after studying these reports is that the quarantine centers which have been established at village level are the worst of the lot. These quarantine centres in villages are mostly functioning in Government Primary Schools and Secondary Schools. Their condition, as per the reports is pitiable.”
“First and foremost, there are no facilities in these centres to provide food to the inmates. Food is being provided by the villagers and the family members of the inmates. In many of these quarantine centers where the inmates are more than 20 to 30, there are only 1 or 2 toilets. What is most shocking is that the hygienic condition of these toilets is also extremely poor….,” the order adds.
The court order says the Gram Sabhas are short of funds and appear to be in no condition to manage these centres. The court referred to a state government order dated May 4 wherein District Magistrates have been directed to coordinate with Gram Sabhas and Gram Pradhans of villages where these quarantine centres have been established, provide them with funds and see to it that these centres are properly managed. “We are afraid that this is not being done properly as of now,” the court said in the order and directed the Secretary, Health, and the Secretary, Disaster Management, in the state government to pass appropriate orders to District Magistrates so that their earlier directive is implemented.
The Chief Minister has now directed district magistrates to address the situation and pay special attention to quarantine facilities set up in the villages. He also announced that if a Covid-19 patient in Uttarakhand dies, dependents will be given an assistance of Rs 1 lakh.
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