Skip to main content

'Super-spreaders' on move off Gujarat capital without social distancing, masks

By Kevin Antao*
Recently, as a photo journalist based in Gandhinagar, the Gujarat capital, I decided to take a round of some of the newly-developing areas around the city. Coronavirus is still a reality and is claiming lives. There is a lot of talk about wearing masks and social distancing. I found people were being fined for not wearing mask by the law enforcement authorities.
However, to my utter surprise, as I moved to Sargasan, 10 km from the city, where massive construction activity is going on, things were very different. Tractors and minivans were found to be carrying construction workers packed like sardines without masks, and social distancing gone for a six. Workers on the move sat on a Bharat Tractor – it was truly a Bharat on the move! Wouldn’t these workers very soon become super spreaders?, I wondered.
The area around the Gujarat capital is witnessing a massive boom in construction business. After the first Unlock-1 was declared on June 1, 2020, many migrant workers, who had desperately left Gujarat to their home state, many of them walking for hundreds of kilometres, have begun to return. The result is, work activities have started picking up, with builders seeking to meet their deadline.
However, today, when Covid-19 continues to be a hard reality across the entire world, including India, claiming lives every day, with more than 16 lakh cases in the country, and the numbers rising every day, social distancing appears to have taken the backseat. Our Prime Minister no doubt keeps reminding citizens to wear mask and to maintain social distance. Sadly, however, his message is not taken seriously.
Workers on the move sat on a Bharat Tractor – a true Bharat on the move! Wouldn’t these workers soon become super spreaders?
Like in Sargasan, elsewhere, too, within of distance of just 7 to 10 km from Gandhinagar, one can see mini-vans and tractor trailers carrying migrant workers (men, women and babies) packed like sardines sticking to one another without mask, on the move from early morning to late evening, going to and fro, across different sites. Many of them pass through the main roads of Gandhinagar. They are seen by the police force on duty, yet no action is taken.
Vegetable vendors and others have been labelled as super spreaders in Ahmedabad , Vadodara, Surat and many other major cities of Gujarat. Why isn’t the state government taking action against those who are moving around freely, violating the safety guidelines? People are fined for not wearing a face mask and spitting. Why is no action in this case, especially against those who employ them, allowing them not to maintain social distance or wear mask?
Recently Gandhinagar city and district saw a rise in Covid-19 cases. Seeing the increase in cases across other districts in the state, isn’t it time the government takes note of this and asks builders to at least ensure that these workers do not become super spreaders?
People are bombarded with advertisements and messages on television on the need to wash hands, wear mask and maintain social distance. Largely uneducated and ignorant, migrant workers may not be taking these guidelines and information seriously. Why are the builders, who consider themselves educated, not taking these guidelines seriously and provide masks to workers and see that social distancing is maintained?
---
*Senior photo journalist based in Gandhinagar

Comments

Anonymous said…
Very sad but true Bharat, sir you brought up the facts.
Very nice article.

TRENDING

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.