Ban on Press be withdrawn, cries Corona Care

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The people of Orissa have the right to know how the Corona (COVID-19) care camps and hospitals are functioning.

Migrant-workers’ protest against mismanagement of camps they are shepherded into is often reaching social media through their mobile phones. It pains the heart to see that, they are forced to beg apologies for their protest.

Question is: who forced them to apologize? The people have a right to know this and any/every such murky events that occur in what the Government projects as Corona care.

On 2 May 2020, Government of Orissa has debarred the Press from locating the lacunae in the matter of Corona care. We had forthwith raised the issue and had strongly disapproved the denial of right to be informed on this mega danger to the people of Orissa.

Despite our repeated demands for sharing all the relevant guidelines and laws on what facilities they are entitled to during the stay in Corona Care Centers vis-a-vis what the State expects of them, all the official documents are in English, a language that they do not know. They do not know whether they are confined in the care centers to be pinched only or to have any medicine for immunity enhancement and counseling for morale boosting that is so very essential in meeting a crisis like COVID-19. They do not know anything about their entitlement as citizens, because they have been kept in dark by not being informed of the official guidelines in their mother tongue. Whosoever is under enforced quarantine in these centers could have been given by the authorities copies of minimum instructions in Oriya so that they might have known what to have and what to do in the camps. This minimum has not been done by the State, because of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s aversion for the language of the people.

Mismanagement thus galore, the ban on reporting the camps needs be immediately withdrawn.We hope, the Chief Minister understands his mistakes and allows the Press free assess to anywhere to see for the people how the crisis is being addressed to.

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