Ever since the Tablighi Jamaat fiasco led to a sudden spike in the number of Coronavirus cases across the country, the state of Maharashtra has left all other states behind to emerge virtually as the Hubei province of India. With 1000 confirmed cases and 52 deaths, the case of Maharashtra has been one of an all-round failure with almost new lapses and goof-ups coming to light every passing day.
Today, there are reports about 170 cops and SRPF jawans deployed for Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s security getting quarantined, because they used to regularly visit a tea-stall which was strangely operational whilst a nationwide lockdown is in force. Now, the vendor who was operating the tea-stall nearby the Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s residence itself has tested positive for COVID-19.
This is itself sufficient to describe the sheer carelessness with which Maharashtra has enforced the lockdown. The fact that the tea-vendor was running his stall right outside the Maharashtra CM’s residence during the lockdown and even used to serve tea to policemen, shows how the Shiv Sena supremo is watching Maharashtra slip into a major Coronavirus disaster right under his nose, and that too quite literally.
As a matter of fact, there have been several reports of frequent lockdown violations in the state with a complete breakdown of the administrative machinery.
But then this is not the only case of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government doing nothing, while the Wuhan infection proliferates in the state. Yesterday itself, Maharashtra was robbed of 40 doctors, who have gone into quarantine after a patient that they were treating tested positive for the Wuhan virus. There was widespread panic in Pune’s DY Patil hospital after the patient tested positive for the virus which led to 92 hospital staff going into quarantine.
The patient, an auto-rickshaw driver, was involved in an accident and was treated at the DY Patil Hospital. It is alleged that the patient’s family hid the patient’s travel history from the hospital staff. According to the Times of India, two days later when the patient developed fever, the doctors inquired from the mother of the patient who revealed that he attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Nizamuddin, New Delhi.
But while these shocking cases of gross administrative negligence have started appearing only now, the Thackeray government, acting under dictation from the NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, has been grossly negligent ever since the Pandemic had hit the state.
Only last month the widespread hoarding of masks in Maharashtra had come to light. It was reported that the Mumbai Crime Branch seized a huge consignment of masks that included 2.75 lakh N95 masks, worth Rs. 14 crores.
Maharashtra has a number of big metro cities- Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, being three major urban hubs in the state, and Mumbai in particular being one of the most densely populated cities in the world was always vulnerable towards developing Coronavirus clusters.
And this is where Uddhav Thackeray’s deep-rooted administrative clumsiness has shown. He was never really an administrator in the past and before the ongoing term was always a part of the Opposition. Even during the Fadnavis regime, he was acting more like an internal opponent- a detractor within the government.
Even before the lockdown was announced, he made some bizarre announcements. In fact, as late as March 17, the Shiv Sena supremo kept public transport and government offices open. What this meant was overcrowded locations like the Mumbai local train kept operating even at the risk of even a single confirmed case infecting huge swathes of population. The clueless Chief Minister did not even have an idea of the kind of damage such outlandishly absurd decisions could cause.
What such absurd decisions have done is cause major damage in some of the most densely populated parts of Mumbai in particular, and Maharashtra in general. Take for instance Dharavi- one of the world’s largest slums, and recognised as Asia’s largest with a population of 7 to 10 lakhs. Dharavi has been hit by Coronavirus and if a chain sets off, no one can imagine the extent of infection that it might cause.
The first person to be tested positive for the disease was a 56-year old garment unit owner, who died on 1st April. Two other cases have been reported from Dharavi ever since. However, how did the disease make its way into the densely populated slum? The patient had no travel history and how he got the disease was a mystery sparking fears of community transmission taking place in Mumbai, India.
Now, the Mumbai Police has confirmed the first patient had come in contact with 10 Tablighi Jamaatis who were heading to Kerala from Nizamuddin and stayed for two days (March 22-24) at a house owned by the man in Dharavi, before leaving for Kerala. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government, being as clueless as it is, has stated that only Kerala can confirm if these ten Tablighi Jamaati’s are positive COVID-19 cases or not.
Mumbai police confirmed that 10 people who resided in Dharavi for few days after returning from Nizamuddin, Delhi have been identified&traced. They resided in the flat of the first Dharavi positive case of #Coronavirus on 1st April. They were from Kerala&had left for it from here pic.twitter.com/7UNPGX63Xp
— ANI (@ANI) April 7, 2020
— ANI (@ANI) April 7, 2020
What is even more excruciating is the fact that while Maharashtra is bearing the scourge of his blatant incompetence, Uddhav Thackeray is himself involved in a major PR campaign to get Bollywood to cheer for him and hailing him as the ‘best Chief Minister’. The left-liberal lobby within the Bollywood too has complied with their Chief Minister’s PR exercise.
Tablighi Jamaat fiasco too has hurt Maharashtra, but an inexperienced Uddhav Thackeray also bears the burden of handling a secular coalition. Do remember that he has to comply with the Congress and the NCP as well given the superiority that the NCP supremo Sharad Pawar enjoys.
This is why the Shiv Sena also backed out from the decision by the Shiv Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation that all the bodies of the victims of the Wuhan virus should be cremated irrespective of the religion. The decision had, of course, not gone down well with the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance and the Shiv Sena backed out despite even other countries like China preferring cremation to burial in order to check the spread of COVID-19.
And now the Uddhav led Maharashtra government has started cracking down even those who speak up against the Tablighi Jamaat. Already short of doctors and medical staff, the Thackeray government has booked an Aurangabad doctor after he called the Tablighi Jamaat chief a ‘terrorist’. Even worse, the name and work details of the doctor too have been released to the media.
Worst part is that police released name and work details of the doctor to media, and media published it too. This when a guy has been killed for comments. They could have held back personal info and just informed about the case if intention was to warn people. https://t.co/3yZeigncE9
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) April 7, 2020
Maharashtra’s case is turning out to be that of a clueless Chief Minister running the state in autopilot mode, while all hell breaks loose as the Pandemic takes grip of the entire state. Having recorded 891 cases already, Maharashtra seems to be headed dangerously towards the path of becoming India’s Hubei if the present state of affairs continues.