By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 12 Sep: Despite the fact that the government is not able to match the growing testing requirements for Covid in view of sharp rise in the cases, district level administration has chosen to harass the limited number of stand-alone private Covid testing labs. Dr Ahuja’s Pathology Lab located at Haridwar Bypass at Mothrowala Chowk remains one of few stand-alone private Covid testing pathology laboratories. As a result, crowds are expectedly seen outside the building to get tested. It should have been the responsibility of the local police to depute some police officials who can ensure physical distancing among the people standing outside the building. However, instead of doing that, the SDM Dehradun has not only served a notice warning the laboratory of strict legal action if the laboratory management failed to ensure physical distancing outside their building, but has also registered an FIR against the laboratory. In fact the SDM in his letter dated 10 September to the laboratory has stated that the response of the laboratory was found to be unsatisfactory.
On 10 September, the laboratory had written an application addressed to Senior Superintendent of Police urging him to depute some police officials outside the laboratory building at Mothrowala Chowk to ensure physical distancing.
In fact the laboratory has CCTV cameras installed inside the premises and is willing to produce the footage to prove that inside the building there was no violation of social distancing norms, but the management has claimed that the people coming for the tests do not listen to the laboratory guard posted outside the building but would easily comply with the orders of any police officials if deputed there.
The fact is that Dr Ahuja’s Pathology Laboratory is the only standalone Covid testing laboratory in the private sector in Dehradun, and if it continues to be unnecessarily harassed over something easily manageable by the Police, it may choose to close down. In that case, it would be the people who would face difficulties in getting tested. Sources said that most of the people coming to get tested at this laboratory are either those admitted in private hospitals for treatment or those who need to travel and therefore need to get tested.
Therefore there is a big question mark over the actual intention of the district administration behind harassing the laboratory management. Presently about 30 percent of the tests conducted by this lab in Dehradun are turning out to be positive whereas only 5 percent of the tests conducted by the Tehri branch of the lab are turning out to be positive. Is the high positive test rate any reason behind the administration’s action? The objection raised by the administration can easily be dealt with by the administration just by deputing a couple of police constables outside the laboratory building. Is this that difficult to do, given the fact that it is the only private stand-alone laboratory testing for Covid-19 infection? Clearly, the administration has a lot to answer in this respect.
It may be pertinent to point out here that most markets including the Paltan Bazar are full of people openly seen violating social distancing norm, and are also seen either without masks or not wearing the masks properly covering the nose and the mouth. Yet no action is taken against them and as a result there is local spread of the pandemic leading to rising number of fresh cases in Dehradun and the rest of the state!