LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (24-04-2021)

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On Govt’s Failure To Tackle Second Wave Of COVID-19

In the wake of resurgence of COVID -19, many state governments have imposed various restrictions and curbs to control the growing number of cases of the virus. Earlier, many experts had time and again warned the government and the people about the possibility of a second surge in the absence of proper mechanism to combat the deadly virus. All these warnings seem to have come true, as the country is witnessing a surge in corona cases all over. The question is why this kind of situation has arisen when things were somewhat under control prior to the second surge? Why did the government not pay heed to the warnings and put all of its mechanism in place by anticipating the worst? Here, both, the Centre and the state governments have displayed a lackadaisical attitude by not taking stricter action against COVID norm violators. While people are also to be blamed for openly violating all COVID norms by not showing any civic sense, the government cannot absolve itself from its responsibilities and put the blame on the masses for not following the government’s norms. Recently the Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh High Courts and now the Delhi High Court put the respective state governments in an embarrassing situation when it made an observation on the rising number of COVID cases and offered several suggestions on how the government could have prepared itself to tackle the surge. One also fails to understand why election rallies were allowed by the Election Commission in the poll-bound states like Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and a religious congregation of a large gathering was allowed by the government despite knowing that the nation was battling a second wave of the virus? The Election Commission seems to have now woken up from its deep slumber and cancelled all rallies in the remaining phases. It is often seen that the government agencies wait till the worst happens before taking corrective measures. The surge could have been tackled well if the government had implemented its norms strictly and made the necessary arrangements like availability of adequate beds and oxygen supply for the patients.

SAMIR KHAN, MAPUSA

Merits Of Work From Home

Many information technology (IT) companies have switched to alternative working options including staggered work hours and enabling work from home option for almost all of its employees owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and the government’s restrictions including curfews that are being imposed. The move to encourage employees to work from home is a welcome move at a time when the pandemic is affecting public health and safety. It should further be explored not only in such a crisis but also to combat air pollution and everyday traffic chaos prevailing in an urban ecosystem. A people-friendly policy should be now framed to mandatorily impose work from home option even at government workplaces, as most of the government departments now rely on internet through e-office rather than the paperwork to execute work. The government thus will go a long way in improving the productivity of its employees through the implementation of an effective work from home strategy.

VARUN DAMBAL, BENGALURU

Enforce COVID Curbs Strictly

While the government preferred to downplay the argument over holding of elections to the Margao, Mapusa, Mormugao, Quepem and Sanguem municipal councils amid a surge in COVID cases, the administration will no doubt be stretched to its limits overseeing the conduct of the civic polls ‘with restrictions’. The elaborate arrangements notwithstanding, how circumspect will the people be in complying with the safety norms while coming out to cast their vote. If the election din created by various election fronts is anything to go by, a sizeable attendance of voters is on the cards. Even otherwise, as in Margao where there is no let-up in COVID cases, key MMC poll panels are known to have redrawn their strategies to entice maximum number of voters to the polling booths. However, the move to distribute to N95 masks and sanitisers in a bid to instill confidence among the voters as strategised by certain panels may not have the desired effect considering that the advice to maintain social distancing and follow various safety norms has hardly convinced people about the efficacy of the whole exercise at protecting themselves against the harmful effects of the virus, as they continue flouting all these directives. Of course, expecting the citizens to exhibit a certain level of personal and social responsibility while combating the threats of the virus becomes inconsequential considering that their general behaviour in the face of the great calamity has been anything but exemplary. In any case, it does appear that crowds are a factor that the Pramod Sawant regime is not unduly worried about. For, the government’s belated move to impose night curfew in an attempt to break the chain of transmission does not take this vital aspect of disease control into consideration at all. It would, however, be foolish to continue underplaying the severity of the pandemic situation even at this stage where the daily spike in cases is touching a new high every other day. Considering the steep rise in new COVID cases as well as the worrying mortality rate in the state, one would have thought that a more comprehensive approach to the whole issue would have been better. As so rightly said, with the situation being grim the rising number of cases calls for strict enforcement of restrictions by the state government.

PACHU MENON, MARGAO