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Tripura BJP MLA sparks row after visit to COVID-19 care centre

Former Tripura Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman. File.

Former Tripura Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman. File.  

Former Tripura Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman has stirred another controversy after entering a COVID-19 Care Centre (CCC) violating restrictions and health protocols. He also rejected a subsequent order of the West Tripura district magistrate directing him to remain under institutional and home quarantine for a week each from Monday following the visit.

Mr Barman, a five-time MLA, visited the CCC at New Capital Complex here on Sunday to distribute food packets to patients and enquire about their wellbeing. The BJP MLA and a few of his aides were seen wearing PPE while entering the high security centre.

He was also seen speaking to health officials present at the centre. These officials have now received show cause notices from the Health Department for facilitating an “unauthorised visit”.

Following the MLA’s visit, West Tripura District Magistrate Dr. Sandeep Mahatme in his order mentioned that Mr. Barman was in a closed environment of the CCC and had a face-to-face contact with COVID-19 positive patients at a distance of less that one metre.

The order maintained that Mr. Barman had violated Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) of the State Health Department and guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The district magistrate invoked powers under the Disaster Management Act 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 to direct the MLA undergo a week’s institutional quarantine at the centre in AD Nagar locality from August 3, followed by home quarantine for another week as he was at risk of having been exposed to infection.

A case was also registered at the New Capital Complex Police Station against the former health minister and BJP MLA under provisions of the Disaster Management Act.

However, Mr. Barman refused to comply with the order arguing that his visit did not violate SoP or the guidelines, and nor had he mingled with the patients. Further he claimed he had taken all precautions while entering the CCC.

He alleged that the action of the District Magistrate was dictated from the top to malign him. “I am not going to institutional quarantine nor I will be available for home quarantine,” he said on Monday.

Mr Barman had recently courted controversy by hosting a dinner party at his official residence within the MLA Hostel compound flouting lockdown and night curfew restrictions. The matter is under investigation.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 7:27:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/tripura-bjp-mla-sparks-row-after-visit-to-covid-centre/article32260738.ece

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