Bhopal: Despite 10 staffers of Madhya Pradesh Governor House (Raj Bhavan) testing COVID-19 positive in the last five days, the state government on Monday declared Raj Bhawan a containment-free zone.
Political experts see this decision in context of a long-awaited Cabinet expansion of the Shivraj government.
According to sources, the final decision on Cabinet expansion is awaited as the BJP’s central leadership yet to approve the new names to be included. The list could be finalised any day and subsequent oath taking ceremony may take place at Raj Bhawan.
After the Bhopal district administration declared Raj Bhavan to be a ‘containment free zone’ on Monday, the Governor’s office clarified that all the 10 people infected by Covid-19 were undergoing treatment in hospitals. Members of these 10 families from the containment area have also been transferred to a quarantine area.
Manohar Dubey, Secretary to the Governor said that the Covid-19 tests of all 395 Raj Bhavan staff members were conducted. Out of them, 385 people have been tested negative [all barring the 10 infected].
It should be noted that as per the Union Health Ministry guidelines, a containment zone is de-sealed only after no new cases have been reported from the zone for 14 days.
As a result, several areas in the state capital continue to be sealed even as no new cases of Covid-19 have surfaced here for a few days. These areas include Professors’ Colony [next to Raj Bhawan] and Shyamla Hills [the area adjacent to CM’s house].
Political observers feel that the order was passed in a haste in view of the speculation of Cabinet expansion taking place this week. Sources say that the swearing in ceremony could be organised at the Minto Hall opposite the Governor House.
Taking a dig at the government, Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said that such a decision shows that the state government is only worried about Cabinet expansion, not about the health and well being of the governor as well as 385 staff members.
Nevertheless, Raj Bhawan Secretary Dubey, in his statement, clarified that strict restrictions are being followed at the Raj Bhavan.
He said that no person without permission will be allowed near the Governor House area, sanitisation has been made mandatory at all contact locations, separate thermal scanning arrangements have been made at the entrance of the Raj Bhavan and at the entrance of Lal Kothi—the personal residential and office area of the governor.
Also read: Union Government’s Policies Incoherent, Says Statement by Joint Task Force Against COVID-19