The Meghalaya Raj Bhavan on Sunday witnessed a chaotic day with as many as thirty employees, including the secretary to Governor Satya Pal Malik, testing positive for Covid-19
Governor Malik, however, tested negative while his wife is out of station.
This was confirmed by the state Director of Health Services (DHS) Dr. Aman War to HT over telephone “Its true that 30 employees of Raj Bhavan have tested positive for the virus and we are making sure that no one is left out of the tests,” the DHS said, adding, “Measures are being taken to ensure that all protocols are put in place.”
Besides the Secretary to the Governor, other senior officials include the Deputy Secretary, House Controller, Superintendent, Accountant, Hindi Stenographer and the attendant to Lady Governor.
Others who work in the main building include 3 room bearers, 2 table bearers, 2 room sweepers and a nurse. These people work in the main building and often come into contact with the Governor or visitors. The others are Grade 3 and 4 staff of the Raj Bhavan Secretariat which is located in the premises but away from the main building and some police personnel.
Speaking to HT over phone, Commissioner and Secretary of Health Sampath Kumar said the origin of the virus infiltrating Raj Bhavan is being ascertained while admitting candidly that it was quite a challenge.
“Many people visit Raj Bhavan and especially since the present Governor has just assumed office many come to greet him. In the process tea and snacks are served and in order to consume them one has to remove the mask which is potentially dangerous,” Kumar said adding, “In such cases social distancing does not apply, it is merely physical distancing.
The Commissioner revealed, “The government is contemplating issuing necessary directions to not allow consumption of any eatables or beverages during meetings.” He said if someone wishes to have tea or snacks or both, one can do so on their own separately.
When asked if the premises would be declared a containment zone considering the large number of positive cases, Kumar said, “The area is fully gated anyway but as far as the quarters are, we leave it to the wisdom and discretion of the Deputy Commissioner (DC).
HT contacted East Khasi Hills DC Isawanda Laloo, who has just assumed office on September 8 and she informed that all protocols have been put in place. “We have sealed off the main premises as well as the staff quarters on the rear side of Raj Bhavan across the road, Laloo said over phone adding, “Essential commodities will be delivered to all at their doorstep so they don’t have to venture out. A police team overseen by the Superintendent of Police and a magistrate will ensure strict adherence to the administration’s directions.”