COVID infra hit due to election work, say officials

The model code of conduct period in the state (March to May) has become a villain for the state as the middle-level administration, including district collectorates handling COVID situation developed complacency.
COVID infra hit due to election work, say officials
Representative image.

Chennai

The state departments, particularly the municipal administration was running behind the Assembly polls. After polling, they took a break for counting without developing any COVID infrastructure for urban and rural local bodies, a highly placed government official, who is also the monitoring official for the COVID crisis in the state told DT Next.
DMK MLAs and senior officials, who are now taking up inspections and reviews on COVID-19 arrangements, are baffled as the infrastructure is hit by a massive shortage of equipment, volunteers and staff to meet the continuous surge of coronavirus cases.
Payments to Siddha and Ayurvedha care centres have not been made, wages for temporary workers suspended and volunteers enrolment disrupted even as cases were surging, the official explained.
The Health Department focussed only on major government hospitals, but the medical buffer that was created in 2020 by developing COVID care centres and urban primary health centres were left unattended and the cumbersome process of restoring them across the state was now resulting in huge crowds at major hospitals, the official said.
“In simple words the goal posts were shifted from COVID to elections. Adding to the fuel, the Public Information Department, which handles the image of the government, did not publicise the medical sponsors that came in last year and now there is a total mess affecting the CSR activities,” opined a senior official with the Public Information Department.
Another collapse is the helpdesks at government hospitals that guides COVID patients. The position of the relatives, who had lost their dear ones to the infection, is more gruesome as there is no adequate helpdesk assistance for the burial ground arrangements.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission, which was rapped by the Madras High Court and the Bombay High Court for the surge in coronavirus cases has decided to set up a core committee headed by Secretary-General, EC, to identify learning, experiences, shortcomings from recent polls in Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry.

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