GUWAHATI: With the rest of the world, India, too, is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of positive cases is rising in the country. Coronavirus fear has also gripped Assam and other North-eastern states. Assam has not reported any positive case of Coronavirus, confirmed health minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma today. The state government has taken several preventive measures so that the deadly disease can’t make inroads to the northeastern state.
However, question arises, are all these steps enough to save the citizens of the state from the deadly disease? Concerns are also being raised about the appropriate precautionary measures taken at the different entry points to Assam.
A ground report of ‘News Live’ at Guwahati Railway Station has found Northeast Frontier Railway (NEFR) doing little towards restricting the spread of Coronavirus pandemic. No medical arrangement was noticed at the station to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Though the authorities are claiming to beef-up the station with medical teams, there was none to be seen at the time when the team of News Live arrived. Only the house keeping staff was seen doing their regular cleaning jobs at the railway sation. The preliminary screening arrangements were also absent at Guwahati Railway Station, which is regarded as one of the important stations of northeastern region.
A large number of workers from Maharashtra and south Indian states, especially Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are returning home in the wake of the Coronavirus threat. The indifference of the Northeast Frontier Railway to screen its passengers is a matter of grave concern.
A youth from Raha in Nagaon district, suspected of being infected with coronavirus was admitted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Saturday. As per reports, the youth who had returned from Kerala had allegedly escaped from Guwahati Railway Station without any proper health check-up. Fortunately, he was tested negative with Coronavirus.
Guwahati, which is the gateway to the region witnesses a large number of footfalls of the passengers every day. Following the shut-down of schools, universities and colleges, students have also started to return to their home. However, the lack of adequate preventive measures at Guwahati Railway Station reveals the apathy of the NEFR towards the safety of public health.
The deplorable condition of Guwahati Railway Station is an indication of the prevailing situations at other railway stations at small towns and mofussils in Assam. Major trains like Rajdhani Express halts at New Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Lumding, Diphu, Mariani, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh. The absence of medical staff at Guwahati Railway Station has posed serious questions regarding the preventive arrangements at other railway stations in Assam.
Meanwhile, the Assam government has already ordered shutting of educational institutes, cinema halls, gyms and swimming pools. National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, state zoo will also remain closed till March 29. On the other hand, Gauhati High Court has decided to hear only important matters and restricted the entry of foreign nationals to the court premises.