Village headman booked, two officials suspended for letting 18 under quarantine go home without medical check-up in Sitapur
A village pradhan was booked and a panchayat secretary and lekhpal were suspended in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district on Friday after 18 persons quarantined in a primary school building were allowed to leave without a medical inspection for COVID-19.
The incident is the latest in a series of lapses reported from quarantine centres in rural areas of the State, where people, especially migrants who recently returned from other States, have escaped from quarantine before time.
On Thursday night, the district magistrate and police district chief of Sitapur arrived in Pipri Sadipur village in Pisawan to inspect the primary school where 18 migrants were kept under quarantine. They had apparently received inputs that there was laxity in providing facilities and food to those under quarantine.
“An FIR was registered against the gram pradhan for not taking care even during this period of national calamity,” said district magistrate Akhilesh Tiwari. The lekhpal and panchayat secretary were suspended for dereliction of duty.
Action would also be taken and adverse entries recorded against the local tehsildar and block development officer for not inspecting the place in time.
The Community Health Centre (CHC) in-charge had reportedly instructed the village pradhan to let the 18 persons go home without a medical check-up after completion of the 14-day period and he was charged with negligence and violation of the “protocol” in place against COVID-19, said the DM.
The administration also wrote to the government to initiate action against the local sub-divisional magistrate for overall liability.
‘Doctor was consulted’
Village headman Om Prakash said the 18 persons were evicted from the school once they completed the mandatory 14 days under quarantine after consulting the local government doctor.
“The DM did not listen to this and asked us to show it [the doctor’s approval] in writing,” said Mr. Om Prakash. The pradhan said he did not have anything in writing.
In another recent case, the police in neighbouring Hardoi district booked 36 persons for allegedly escaping from a quarantine centre in Lonar area. The accused, migrants who had recently returned from various cities outside U.P., “took advantage of the dark” and jumped off the wall, said Hardoi police.
“We are sorting them according to the time period for fresh quarantine,” Circle Officer of Harpalpur, Rajesh Vashishth, said on Wednesday.