New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic has bought out the worst in the government’s intentions, whether it is in media circles or the government itself. Be it the about-face with the coverage Tablighi Jamaat, the busting of the myth that Agra’s is the model to follow with containment efforts, or the fact that imported Chinese testing kits are being sold at twice the rate as compared to cheaper but just as effective ones from South Korea, citizen and certain segments of mainstream media are bringing pressing truths to the fore. One of the outlets doing so is NDTV.
Tablighi Jamaat, from so-called “conspirators” to plasma donators
The channel’s Ravish Kumar says that since this pandemic started, “Communal hatred is seeping more and more domestically news about this is embarrassing India on the international front.”
He added that ever since March 24 to March 30, the amplification and selective targeting of the Tablighi Jamaat folks who caught the COVID virus. Plus, the news of even those without communal tendencies inquiring about the religion of their barber or vegetable vendor.
He deplored the fact that now with Tablighi Jamaat folks coming forward to donate their plasma, the media has forgotten the way the religious group and Muslims overall were demonized.
UP, an example of what not to during COVID-19
With media a bit hard-pressed to their work, civilians and patients have stepped up as citizen journalists of sorts. Footage taken from camera phones is indicative of how in places like UP’s Saifai Medical University, the COVID is being taken lightly and patients are not being given food to eat.
Videos from Agra, Bareilly, and Raipur show that things are no different. In Agra, a person wearing PPE equipment is shown throwing food and water outside the gate. Somehow this video got suspended.
On April 11, IAS Officer Luv Agarwal extolled the Agra model as there was smart city control along with nine lakh people were surveyed. Although a little this praise died down, ten days later the city’s mayor wrote a letter to CM Yogi Adityanath telling that Agra should turn into another Wuhan.
Kumar stated “The logic behind the lockdown should be to make necessary arrangements for medicine and health measure rather than just only shut people and activity down. Yet not much of that has happened in the last month.
Contrary to all the talk of the progress which Agra has made the number of people infect has reached 381 people have died and 10 have died.
Profiteering in the time of the pandemic
The UP government also announced that it would begin antibody testing. However, the powers that be overpaid for the 6,50,00 kits bought from China.
NDTV’s Arvind Gunasekar revealed that these kids were expensive compared to the cheaper and just as effective as the ones bought from South Korea. He went onto elaborate that the Matrix company ordered that amount of kits from China — one for Rs. 245 — after which they were sent towards their distributors, Real Metabolics.
Then they were sold to the government of India for Rs. 600. Clearly, they were bought for twice the price of the more feasible South Korean alternative.
The news of this profiteering came through the judiciary. When the Tamil Nadu government gave an order for these Chinese kits, they went at loggerheads the courts where this racket was unearthed.
Cabinet Minister in the Chattisgarh government, TS Singh Deo, tweeted that his state instead acquired 75,000 high quality rapid testing kits at a benchmark price Rs. 337 plus GST.