COMMERCIAL HUB OF MADHYA PRADESH TO BE UNDER STRICT CURFEW
Indore, the commercial hub of Madhya Pradesh, not only happens to be the worst affected town of the state, but also among the few worst affect cities of the country. From Monday it’s been under complete lockdown for three days. No one is being allowed on the streets, but for police and medical personnel, and barring medicine shops no other trade is to remain open. Even milk supply is shut. Those who violate the lockdown may end up in an open jail.
Despite these measures, 20 new cases were recorded on March 31, taking the total number to 47. This is nearly two-third of the state’s count. “Indore is in the second upper stage of Covid-19 spread. This stage is extremely important to gain control of the situation,” district magistrate Manish Singh told reporters late Sunday evening after holding meeting with senior officers. Singh was appointed on Saturday afternoon, replacing Lokesh Kumar Jatav in the middle of the coronavirus battle.
Even essential supplies barring medicines will be halted for the next three days, the Collector said adding that milk will also not be supplied during the period. “We will make arrangement to resume supply once the three day period is over,” he said.
“Petrol pumps will be closed. Four wheelers and two wheelers should not be seen on the streets. Plans for doorstep supply of grocery will be implemented only after three days,” Singh added. Choithram vegetable mandi will remain closed during this period.
“Where there would be shortage of food grains, we are forming a network. These will be distributed with the help of public representatives. We will provide ration. Stocks of potatoes and Onions will also be made available,” he said.
Nine localities have been completely sealed off as containment zones. “People living in vicinity will be quarantined,” Singh said.
The administration has decided to act strictly with people thwarting efforts of health officials to screen people in the containment zones. Strict legal action will be taken against them.
“A place will be identified as an open jail where violators of the lockdown and people posing hindrance to screening of the suspects will be kept,” the Collector warned.
The disclosure about the Tabligi jamaat may further boost the figure of affected persons not only in Indore but also in other cities of the state including Bhopal. The Chief Minister has asked the authorities to locate those tabligi people who participated in the Delhi congregation.
Besides Indore arrival of migrant labourers from various parts of the country is another serious problem which is being faced by Madhya Pradesh government. A day after the Centre decided to stop the massive migration of labourers, the bordering districts of Madhya Pradesh faced a practical problem of identifying space to quarantine thousands of migrants who have already reached the entry points of the state.
A top government officer in Bhopal said “It is a huge taks. It’s difficult to seal the borders. It’s not building gate that can be closed down. The number of people reaching from Gujarat in Jhabua and Alirajpur is huge. So is the case in the district of Morena”. He said that the administration was asked to identify “nearest buildings” to quarantine the migrating population and provide them food.
On Monday morning, arrivals of large number of people continued in Morena district. Sarai Chol, a village bordering Rajasthan is the centre of activities. The district collector Priyanka Das said, “We have identified places to quarantine those who want to proceed further from Morena to the districts of UP and MP”.
In the neighbouring Sheopur district collector Pratibha Pal told media persons “We have identified tribal hostels which were vacated after the students left for home. We have about 9o people who wanted to go to Jharkhand. But they are lodged in the hostel and we will provide them food and water”.
In the afternoon, a large number of people arrived at Harpalpur, bordering town of Chhatarpur district. They were travelling from Delhi to Banda and Jhansi districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Serious problems have been caused because of many transfers of administrative officers. Because of two reasons officers have been transferred. Firstly those officers have been transferred who were considered confident of former Chief Minister Kamal Nath and his cabinet colleagues. Due to this reason present Chief Minister is not prepared to trust them. Secondly some of them were not found competent enough to meet the challenge of the crisis. But transfers do cause difficulties. Even on Tuesday late night more transfers have been ordered.
At the political level the state does not have a council of Ministers. According to the Constitution a state is governed by the Governor with the aid and advice of the council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister. Because there is no council of Ministers the burden of administering the state is being borne by the Chief Minister. There is no doubt that Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan is working very hard. He is constantly interacting with officers, visiting various parts of Bhopal, meeting people and appearing on the TV screen. But there is a limit to one’s energy. The state can be governed more efficiently if the Chief Minister is aided by Ministers. It is difficult to speculate why Chouhan has not picked up cabinet colleagues to assist him in this hour of crisis.