GUWAHATI, May 18 - The residents of Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) campus have opposed the government move to convert the guest house complexes into quarantine centres as children and elderly persons reside on the campus.
Around 3,500 people including teachers and faculty members, their parents, foreign students and others stay on the campus.
�The move to convert the two guest house complexes into COVID-19 quarantine centres has put lives of more than 3,500 people in danger. After the decision, there is fear among the residents of the entire campus of getting affected by the virus. The decision has been taken hurriedly without any ground check. Senior citizens, children, students are at high risk now on the campus,� a resident faculty of the IIT-G campus said.
On May 15 the Kamrup district administration converted the two guest houses of the institute into quarantine centres. In an order the district administration said that in view of the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the last few days and also because of the large inflow of people to their respective home states, including Assam, a large number of quarantine spaces are needed for accommodating them. Both the guest house complexes will be under the direct control and authority of the district administration of Kamrup with immediate effect and until further order.
�These two buildings are adjacent to the institute hospital, which is the only medical facility and dispensary for the residents. Moreover, some faculty members who had just joined the institution, stayed in one of the guest houses but they were asked to vacate the place after the order. A lady faculty has still not got a room and is staying at a colleague�s place,� the faculty added.
The residents also alleged that no sanitization was carried out before allowing COVID-19 positive patients into the guest houses since Friday.
�The order reached us in a very short notice and we are cooperating with the district administration in the best possible manner. Since we are experiencing it for the first time, such fear is very natural. However, all the standard operation procedures are being followed,� an official of IIT-G said.
More than 100 people are quarantined in the two guest house complexes of the IIT-G campus.
�We were surprised at the arrival of the first batch on Friday evening as we were not informed earlier. We are spending sleepless nights and appeal to the government to relook into the matter,� another resident said.
On the other hand, the IIT-G administration argued that all necessary precautions were being taken, including complete isolation of the guest houses to ensure a secure campus. �Initially, when the decision was announced, a lot of people raised their concerns. However, our disaster response team has addressed the issue properly and now most of the residents have understood the situation,� said Professor PS Robi, Deputy Director of IIT Guwahati.
�As per protocol, it is our duty to support the district administration in this hour of crisis. Morally too, we should extend support to the people of Assam returning to their home state. We must keep in mind that all these people being quarantined are not COVID patients. The process of quarantine is mandatory to ensure that the infection does not spread further,� he added.