The government on Wednesday gave power to zonal Deputy Commissioners to take “strict penal action” against landlords who have been forcing doctors and paramedical staff , engaged in fighting COVID-19 , to vacate their rented premises.
According to a government notification, such behaviour “not only strikes at the root of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but also tantamount to obstruction of duty of essential services“.
Invoking the Delhi Epidemics Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, it said the district magistrates, zonal deputy commissioners of municipal corporations and the deputy commissioner of police are “directed to take strict penal action against such landlords and house owners under the relevant provisions of law“.
These officials have also been asked to submit their Action Taken Report on a daily basis.
The decision was taken after the resident doctors of India’s premier hospital AIIMS on Tuesday sought the government’s intervention saying their colleagues were facing eviction from their homes by their landlords, who fear the medical professionals at the forefront of the fight against the novel coronavirus could be infected.
In a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah, the Resident Doctors Association said many staffers were “stranded on roads” with all their luggage, and urged him to immediately release an order prohibiting landlords from evicting the health care professionals working tirelessly against the virus from their rented houses.
Mr. Shah has spoken to the Delhi police chief and asked him to take immediate action to ensure the security of doctors facing harassment.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had also said he was “deeply anguished” by the reports of medical staff being “ostracised”. He reminded the landlords that the whole country had applauded the selfless services of healthcare professionals in these critical times by beating utensils, ringing bells and blowing conch shells from self-quarantine.