The Supreme Court on Friday disposed of an application seeking directions for nationwide acquisition and conversion of hotels, resorts, guesthouses etc. to shelter homes, quarantine centres and isolation wards. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had contended that the government has already initiated the process.
However, a bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta, dismissed the PIL saying that, "people are coming with millions of ideas; cannot hear everyone."
Furthermore, wanting an urgent intervention on the plight of thousands of migrant workers choosing to walk back to their villages from cities, after the three-week nationwide lockdown was imposed, the petitioner wanted its application to be attached with another plea seeking relief, led by Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava.
The petitioners in the application said that state governments across the country are in the process of spending huge amounts on acquiring stadiums, railway coaches and converting them into quarantine facilities which may not be necessary, before exhausting self-contained accommodations which have such facilities already.
The applicant while indicating towards the need for immediate use of facilities in existence stated that authorities shall save time, money and effort by acquiring and converting self-sufficient premises as they are already equipped with essential things like electricity backup, beds, washrooms, water supply, kitchens, ventilation, lift, manpower etc.
Meanwhile, the Indian railways took it upon themselves to fight the deadly Coronavirus by converting sleeper class coaches into isolation wards. The southern western railways will be seeing the conversion of 312 of its coaches into isolation wards as per prototype issues by the Railway board.
As per the latest figures, there are over 2301 Coronavirus cases confirmed in India so far. While 53 deaths have been reported overall, 156 people have also been cured/discharged/migrated.
On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country effective from midnight of March 25 to deal with the spread of Coronavirus, saying that "social distancing" is the only option to deal with the disease, which spreads rapidly. The 21-day curfew is applicable to all states, districts, and villages - irrespective of whether they were earlier under curfew or not.