House of correctionThe federal government needs to work in coordination with other subgovernments.
What is happening in Thankot, the gateway to capital is tragic. It is cold and people are stranded. There are families with small kids too. But the federal government seems nonchalant.
It has been more than a month since the lockdown. Yet there is no certainty as to for how long this is going to continue. The government, on its part, keeps on extending the lockdown week after week without a clear plan as to how it is going to move forward, say once the lockdown is lifted, or what consists of loosening the lockdown and so on.
Quite naturally, many are longing to go back to their hometowns but are stuck in Kathmandu due to the ongoing lockdown. And those stuck outside the Valley want to come back.
But the decision of Kathmandu District Administration Office to prohibit the residents of Kathmandu Valley from returning home after they had travelled all the way from Biratnagar has unmasked yet another lack of coordination between the city authorities and the federal government. There is a need for coordination between different tiers of government more than ever. We are witnessing a pandemic and the last thing any government should be doing during such a crisis is refuse to coordinate and ultimately make people suffer.
The countrywide tally of those testing positive for Covid-19 is at 54 as this paper went to press. Most cases are from outside the Kathmandu Valley. But last week, three men, who had tested positive for the coronavirus—one Indian aged 24 and two others aged 60 and 72 years—were from Biratnagar. Perhaps, the officials were trying to be extra cautious. But in trying to do so, they have failed humanity.
Lack of proper planning and coordination has been a constant feature of the government. This weakness has been more exposed ever since it announced a lockdown in its efforts to spread the contain of the coronavirus. Here at home, there is still confusion as to when people can go out during a lockdown. People will need to go out to buy essential goods, or pay a visit to the hospital. But there have been reports about people being detained for doing so. The timings keep on changing and at times, the police often choose to detain people based on their whim. Many are still stranded, mostly daily wage earners for whom it has already become difficult to survive in this expensive city where they have no one to call their own. They yearn to go back home and so the provincial governments have started to make arrangements after people started going out of Kathmandu in droves, barefoot and with a heavy heart that had lost all hopes from the federal government.
Examples from around the world have proved that lockdown has served as an effective measure in the fight against Covid-19. But unlike in our case, most countries have proper monitoring mechanisms and rules laid out. The federal government too needs to learn a thing or two from other countries and opt for cooperation with the provincial and local governments rather than behaving in a conceited, inhumane manner.