Illustration by Hasan Zaidi
Illustration by Hasan Zaidi

Most people in the city are braving the crisis of a lifetime in the form of Covid-19 pandemic, however, the way the district administration has managed the lockdown goes to say that people have only the Mercy of God to count on!

Despite the tall claims of modern civilisation of it being an enabler of people's pursuit of life, liberty and happiness- the was things have turned out in Ujjain district it is but apt to say the if things go bad it is due to some evil curse and if the things appear to be improving it is merely due to the God’s blessings.

The reason is: neither administration nor health department authorities have proved to be competent enough to take district out of the red zone.

Since inception of the lockdown, the administrative machinery never looked to be working in tandem.

Orders were followed by amended orders all the while in the name of preventive and precautionary measures.

Instead of proving effective, haphazard issuing of orders rather created panic among the staff and people.

Health department’s lack of readiness to win the war against Covid-19 was evident from the day one as suspects and patients were forced to run from pillar to post to get treatment- in vain.

During initial days, serious patients were referred to Indore, but in last 25 days or so arrangements to treat them were made. But this in turned finally exposed the lack of district administrations preparedness.

RD Gardi Medical College has particularly let down one and all- it has shamed the health infrastructure and healthcare workers and let down the people in the district which it unabashedly boasts to serve.

The situation started deteriorating when the first Covid-19 death in Madhya Pradesh was reported from Ujjain on March 25.

Gradually, the administrative authorities in consonance with the health officials started playing with the facts and figures.

According to people in thick of things, the administration adopted an strategy of opaqueness, this became evident when reports of Covid-19 deaths and infected patients started getting delayed.

The bulletin which is released every day to share information about the state of epidemic was also intentionally fractured so as to divert the attention, claimed a source.

Administration’s approach was to take to jugglery of numbers: of patients and deaths- to paint a rosy picture of the district and earn accolades.

Not only this, during this honeymoon period, the senior officials also gave numerous relaxations to the people in the name of purchasing ration, vegetables and fruits among others.

These relaxations facilitated some people to make a quick buck at cost of common man's ordeal amid the lockdown.

After a month of lockdown, more than 35 percent of the urban habitats of Ujjain are affected by the dreaded virus.

Situation is almost similar in the tehsils of the district, where number of infected persons and deaths have been increasing by the day.

All this has taken a toll on the people. The bungling by the the political and administrative machinery has left them high and dry.

They are fed up not because of long and uncertain lockdown, but because of the emerging picture which is grim, dark and hopeless.

They are all for bearing the lockdown for another spell, but there seems to be no hope left in them regarding any improvement in the handling of crisis by the administration.

People in the district are a worried lot as they have been let down by the administrative authorities by failing to provide them a semblance of security and order amid this chaos ushered by the Coivd-19 crisis.

Observers opine that basic principles of public administration : planning, coordination, command, control, decision making, execution, leadership, monitoring, rewards and punishment have been disowned by top Babus of Ujjain.

They opine that such a horrific situation has developed owing to lack of will of the authorities sitting at the state headquarters as well their political masters.

If administration is in disarray and politicians, high on power, are busy in fulfilling vested interests then the only hope which remains for the people is to beseech from the depth of their hearts- Hey Mahakal!

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