Amid the political drama, Nagpur district guardian minister Nitin Raut on Friday announced there will be no lockdown in city or district in August to check the spread Covid-19 as was being anticipated. Instead, a 4-T plan of tracing, tracking, testing, and treating the patients will be undertaken.
Municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe had warned of a strict lockdown in case citizens continued to ignore COVID rules and cases kept increasing. Raut and home minister Anil Deshmukh had named a committee of senior district officials to work out details of the lockdown. However, a group of elected representatives, mostly from BJP but also including others, had opposed the lockdown plan citing difficulties to citizens and threat to the livelihood of the poor.
On Friday, Raut met divisional commissioner Sanjeev Kumar, municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe, CP Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, collector Ravindra Thakare, CEO of Zilla Parishad Yogesh Khumbajkar and officials of state’s health department and deans of two Dedicated COVID Hospitals and decided against the lockdown.
Raut told TOI, “Everyone agreed on full lockdown with curfew will not work. I request the people not to believe in rumors.” He said patients reaching hospitals in a critical condition is a big problem.
Also, hospitals, as well as the civic body, were facing a serious shortage of staff. “We will launch a program to detect the patients early and treat them,” said Nitin Raut.
Simultaneously, the elected representatives led by mayor Sandip Joshi also held a meeting in which they opposed talk of a lockdown. Nagpur rural MP and Shiv Sena leader Krupal Tumane, Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Vikas Mahatme, MLAs Krishna Khopde, Vikas Kumbhare, Mohan Mate, MLC Anil Sole and leader of the opposition and senior Congress corporator Tanaji Wanve attended.
They slammed Raut for allegedly playing politics over the issue and sidelining them in taking crucial decisions. They were also riled at Raut for convening a meeting coinciding with their own which they said was planned earlier.
Joshi said the meeting decided to end the odd-even formula for major roads but continue with it in the narrow lanes. It was also decided to instruct the civic administration not to undertake anti-encroachment drive and not to impose hefty fines on shopkeepers for violations.
Some, requesting anonymity, told TOI that Raut’s “sudden realization” of his duties as the district guardian minister was only an effort to divert the people’s attention from the hue and cry being raised over the exorbitant power bills.
Joshi also didn’t spare municipal commissioner Mundhe for skipping the meeting convened by him and attending the one convened by Raut. “Mundhe should have attended my meeting,” he said.
On the other hand, Raut also met representatives of various NGOs who assured to help the administration in containing Covid-19. “We will establish a help desk in all 38 wards in the city. Testing will be done followed by creating awareness, receiving complaints, helping in treatment or admission of patients, etc. MSEDCL is having contact numbers of all in the district which will be used for creating awareness about the four-T program,” Raut said.
Raut said he had directed GMCH and IGGMCH to start testing all patients visiting hospitals using Rapid Antigen Kits. “Hospitals are also facing a shortage of Class-IV employees like attendants and sanitary workers. I have asked them to get sufficient manpower from private agencies. I will try to get doctors and paramedical staff from government,” he said.
Raut met representatives of the Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) who assured help in boosting the economy of the district.
THE WAY FORWARD
- No lockdown and curfew in the city during August
- Instead, 4-T plan to trace, track, test, and treat patients
- Help desks in all 38 wards of city to guide patients about treatment
- Awareness drives through MSEDCL database of phone numbers
- Govt hospital to be asked to test all visiting patients
- Staff shortage in government hospitals to be addressed
(With inputs from TimesOfIndia)