Get Priorities Right

INDIA has now crossed three lakh coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours and given that contagion shows no signs of abating, the  country could  soon be headed to four lakh mark. India now lags only the US in the total number of infected. As for the daily tally, India has surpassed the US’ highest one-day rise of  297,430 cases posted  in January. In Covid-19 related fatalities, India is now approaching the two-lakh figure. This is a very grim situation to be in. Making things appear even worse is that the union government appears helpless as the demand for hospital beds, medical oxygen and the medicine grows. The healthcare infrastructure is at a breaking point. The viral videos of the people gasping for breath and the distraught families looking for medical attention paint an apocalyptic picture.
As things stand,  centre is being largely blamed for this “brutal second wave” besides a “double mutant” strain. The leaders of the BJP including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi have until recently been engaged in addressing the super-spreader election rallies in the four states going to polls. Besides, the centre also gave a go-ahead to Kumbh mela in Uttar Pradesh attended by lakhs of pilgrims.
In Jammu and Kashmir too, the situation is bleak. More so, in Kashmir Valley where the numbers of fresh cases are well past the record of the last year. The summer capital Srinagar has been consistently recording the maximum number of cases in the union territory. There are reasons to believe that the holding of cultural events and the arrival of tourists in large numbers has played a role in the new surge. This is already overburdening the healthcare facilities. But far from being focussed on the unprecedented crisis at hand, the administration is concerned with surveiling its employees. A full-fledged task force headed by an ADGP has been created to scrutinize the employees involved in alleged anti-national activities, of whom there must be a very insignificant number out there. Whatever the rationale for the administration to create such a force, this time the Covid-19 crisis should have been the focus of its attention. A task force  should have been created to enforce Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedure in public life, to ensure our medical facilities are sufficiently equipped and staffed to meet the challenge. But that doesn’t seem to be the priority as of now. A tiny number of allegedly anti-national government employees are. It is time for the administration to get its priorities right and attend to the crisis unfolding around us  Employees’ issue can wait for now.

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