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Unwrapping alleged ‘undercooked food’ at Dimapur quarantine centre

By Our Reporter Updated: Jun 11, 2020 1:27 am
Livingstone Foundation International School.

Our Reporter
Dimapur, June 10 (EMN):
Even as Nagaland struggles to manage the huge number of stranded citizens returning to the state, various allegations and counter allegations in connection with the facilities being offered at various quarantine centres have hit the headlines of late.

On Tuesday, a video of inmates protesting and complaining about the quality of food being served to them at the New DC Complex quarantine centre in Dimapur, went viral. They claimed that “undercooked food” was served to them at the facility.

Clarifying the incident, one of the officials from the food committee said that the previous caterer was feeding them ‘Andhra and Basmati’ rice while the new caterer, who was brought in just a day before the incident, gave them another type of rice, which upon verification was found to be a “little harder” than the previous quality of rice.

The official said the New DC Complex quarantine centre with a capacity for 400 inmates, was exclusively given a separate caterer on Monday, which was the same day the new caterer started his work. This was done in order to avoid ‘wasting of time’ while delivering food as it was far from the food processing unit.

“There is an officer-in-charge of every quarantine facility. If they have any complaints, they should do so accordingly and in good spirit, instead of posting everything on social media platforms,” the official said.

Furthermore, the official informed that the task force had already taken heed of the matter and resolved it as per the wish of the returnees; the quality of rice as well as dal have been changed, it was informed.

‘Don’t let smaller issues belittle bigger tasks’

Y Kikheto Sema, APC and overall in-charge of Covid-19 activities in Dimapur, also issued a clarification pertaining to food quality served at New DC Office Complex, Chümoukedima.

The officer stated that he directed the Food Committee to visit the facility on June 10 to verify the issue. It was “found that the quality of rice needed improvement” and the caterer had agreed to “improve the rice quality”.

“While we appreciate and welcome all views and opinions, the Team Dimapur requests all to kindly bring any lapses to the notice of the appropriate authorities first for immediate corrective measures. It may be mentioned that Team Dimapur has been working tirelessly 24×7 to take care of thousands of returnees and provide them meals in more than 50 quarantine centres across the length and breadth of Dimapur. Nearly 4000 persons including frontline workers are being fed on daily basis,” the statement read.

“While fighting the bigger problem of Corona, let not the smaller issues overshadow or belittle the bigger tasks. Team Dimapur is trying and will continue to try its best to deliver our best services to the people and we seek the support and cooperation of everyone,” it added.

Sema also requested “everyone to have patience and bear with us during this challenging period”.

Overstay issue at quarantine facilities

With arranging facilities for thousands of returnees has become a huge challenge for the authorities, instances of overstay at quarantine centres and delay in testing of samples have surfaced.

Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Amugha Aye, one of the caretakers at Livingstone Foundation International School, which is one of the designated quarantine centres in Dimapur, said that 155 inmates have been waiting for 17 days now, which is an additional three-day quarantine against the government’s SOP for 14 days institutional quarantine.

Aye informed that the medical team had taken the sample of the inmates only on June 6, which was the 13th day of the inmates’ 14-day quarantine period, as they had arrived on May 24.

Unfortunately, he said, he was informed by the control room that the test results of the inmates ‘might only be out this Saturday’, which would mean a 20-day quarantine period for the inmates there.

Apart from the sanitising team from the Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) and the medical team, he said that there was negligence on the part of the authorities, as they were ‘not collecting the samples in time for prompt actions to be done accordingly.’

At the same time, he said the inmates, although following all the protocols, were slowly getting impatient as they want to be released from the facility, given their mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine was already over.

The same was the case at the New DC Complex quarantine facility in Chumoukedima. One of the officials from the district task force for Covid-19, who wished not to be named, said that ‘the inmates have been staying there for 16 days now,’ as of June 10.

The official said that ‘the prolonging of the inmates’ stay at the facility could cause frustration.

Y Kikheto Sema also told this newspaper that there were many returnees who had completed their 14-day institutional quarantine but still not leaving the facilities. He said that the returnees should be released after completing their stipulated quarantine period.

By Our Reporter Updated: Jun 11, 2020 1:27:38 am