Gap between state secretariat and district administration observed: MHRC

Following the directive of the High Court of Manipur, the Manipur Human Rights Commission has submitted its preliminary investigation report after visiting quarantine centres in eight districts.

Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on Tuesday stated that there is a gap between state secretariat office and district administration on proper coordination, and pointed out that input from district administration is required while implementing COVID-19 related works. 

MHRC following the directive of the High Court of Manipur, has submitted its preliminary investigation report on Tuesday after visiting quarantine centres in eight districts. MHRC has visited Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal, Churachandpur, Bishnupur, Senapati, Kangpokpi, Kakching from June 1 to 8.

As per the report, the Commission observed that some of the quarantine centres are located within the villages. Toilets and bathrooms provided in the majority of quarantine centres are inadequate and lack basic facilities including water supply, it said.   

A sum of Rs 200 is allocated per inmate per day to cover his/her meals, drinking water which is also inadequate, it said. Moreover, release of the allocated amount is either due or delayed, stated MHRC.

In Senapati and Kangpokpi district, the district administration managed a centralised community kitchen to supply packaged food to all the quarantine centres under their respective jurisdiction, it said.

The report mentioned that in some quarantine centres, the inmates complained of sharing the same toilet and bathroom with the new inmates who came from different zones.  In some quarantine centres, the inmates do not strictly follow required SOPs like physical/social distancing. Face masks are either not used or improperly used, it said.

In respect of Churachandpur district, the commission is informed that the district administration sent SOP through message and WhatsApp to the quarantine inmates in regular intervals to impart awareness on COVID-19, it added.

The Commission further observed that a display board showed the numbers of inmates and PPE available. One quarantine centre namely Circuit is solely dedicated for vulnerable groups of people like pregnant women, juvenile and minor children in Churachandpur district, the report said.   

The involvement of the department of Social Welfare, government of Manipur in dealing with vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, juvenile, minor children, aged persons, etc. is either absent or not seen. Providing food supplements and nutrition to such vulnerable groups are lacking, it said. In some quarantine centres, basic infrastructural needs such as infrared thermometer, hand sanitizers, hand gloves, etc. are found lacking or not adequately available, the report mentioned.

In all the districts, testing COVID-19 has been considerably delayed despite sending collected samples well in advance, stated MHRC Only one or two ambulances are available in most of the district to transport COVID-19 patients, it added.  

Majority of district administration like to bring stranded people from different 

zones on phase by phase manner. Therefore, the district administration should be informed about the number of inmates to be stationed under their jurisdiction well in advance, in order to avoid inconveniences, stated MHRC.

Imparting the knowledge of COVID-19, particularly to the inmates under quarantine is required to avoid any unwanted incidents in the quarantine centres, the report mentioned. The volunteers and management committees for some of the community quarantine centres are not trained properly, it said.

The Commission noted that they are also frontline warriors of COVID-19 and therefore, compensation/monetary relief should be provided as per government norms.

Although MHRC is an autonomous human rights expert body/institution, the Commission has not been able to fully discharge its statutory duties for the enforcement of human rights and fundamental freedoms due to acute shortage of fund/financial resources, it said.  

However, the Commission has done its investigation work by making spot visits and placing MHRC's preliminary investigation report before the High Court. MHRC shall undertake and complete the investigation in respect of the remaining quarantine centres if the High Court considers it necessary, it added. 

 

First Published:June 10, 2020, 1:14 a.m.

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