GUWAHATI, May 27 - Alleging mismanagement on the part of the Assam government in operating the quarantine centres, opposition Congress today demanded that the people who, arriving from outside the State, do not show any symptoms during screening should be allowed to go for home quarantine.
Addressing a video press conference, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora also claimed that Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is already �overburdened� and should be relieved of the Finance, Education and PWD portfolios so as to let him concentrate on efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
�The State government is doing everything in an unplanned manner. I myself have been to Sarusajai. The condition of the quarantine centres is filthy. There is shortage of water and toilet facilities and the food provided is also not up to the standard. It is not possible to maintain social distancing in the centres. Even healthy people will get ill in those places. There have been protests by inmates of quarantine centres at many places in recent days,� said Bora.
He added, �We demand that only those who show symptoms during the screening should be sent for testing and then to the quarantine centres. Let the others, who do not show any symptoms, go for home quarantine as is being done in Kerala.�
Bora said that surveillance of people sent to home quarantine could be carried out by use of technology and of local healthcare workers, like ASHA workers.
�Send those who do not show any symptoms to home quarantine and keep them under surveillance,� said Bora.
The State Congress president is himself under home quarantine as he had recently come back from Delhi.
The Congress leader said that Health Minister Sarma should be allowed to focus exclusively on the COVID-19 front.
�Sarma himself has said that he hasn�t got time to sleep for the last 70 days. We are concerned about his health and wellbeing. We appreciate his work. He has led from the front. However, he need not go to receive people arriving from outside or to see off people who have been discharged from hospital. He also need not personally give out data regarding the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 or discharged from hospital. Let officers and spokespersons do that... Sarma is now overburdened as he has to handle so many departments. So, we request the Chief Minister to reduce Sarma�s burden and relieve him of the other portfolios for the time being, so that he can focus exclusively on the health sector and on the fight against the pandemic,� said Bora.
Bora also alleged that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has taken the back seat during the pandemic.
�The Chief Minister seems to have given up. Why is the Chief Minister scared? He should come forward. There should be collective leadership,� said the Congress leader.
Meanwhile, the Congress will hold a nationwide social media campaign tomorrow to put pressure on the Central government to fulfil three demands.
�Our first demand is that Rs 7,500 each month should be provided to each poor family for a duration of six months. As it will take some time to arrange the entire logistics, we demand that Rs 10,000 be released for each such family immediately (as first instalment).
�Secondly, the Centre should take the initiative to coordinate with all state governments to facilitate transportation of stranded people across the country. All the state governments should provide money to bring back their citizens.
�Thirdly, we demand that at least 200 days of guaranteed employment per year should be provided to the poor under the MGNREGA as against 100 days earlier,� said Bora.